I started my career in education as a classroom teacher and these years were some of the best of my life. I now work as a literacy coach, getting the opportunity to work beside teachers and support them in a small way with the giant job that they are doing. Teaching has changed so dramatically in the 12 years I have been out of the classroom, to say nothing of how much it has changed in the undisclosed amount of years it has been since I have been a student. The job teachers do is amazing, awe inspiring, and oh so difficult.

This letter is for the teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and everyone that fills that role of teaching kids..my hat is off to you all (especially in January, or around Christmas, or right before a break or when the moon is full…).

To the awesome educators, here are all the ways this mom loves you:

I love you for making my children feel important in the world outside of our home. I see you taking an interest in their lives, remembering that they are in karate or gymnastics or in a play and you ask them about it. Which means you are tracking the lives of possibly 30 kids at a time. You give them jobs in the classroom that teach them responsibility so I can say these words, “You have jobs in the classroom and I bet you don’t whine about them so don’t whine at home.” So helpful. I watch you really see my child and I know that they feel seen. For this I thank you.

I love you for putting your students first. I see you scarfing your lunch down at that kidney-shaped table as you get materials ready for the student who will be spending that lunch hour getting extra math/writing/reading/rewrite- their-entire-Honors-English-essay help. I see you staying after school making plans for individual students to help give them a shot of getting past a tricky spot. I see you spending your nights not only supervising after school events, but actually attending events of students outside of school. Watching my own child’s 1st grade soccer game is sometimes an exercise in patience for me as a parent, and seeing you attend just because my child invited you makes my heart want to burst.

I love you for sharing your lives with your students and giving them a different perspective on the world. When my kid comes home excited about something totally new, like creating a crazy design out of PVC pipe as well as promotional materials for said invention because you have made this exciting, I am just drowning in joy. You teachers come from different kinds of families and backgrounds and interests and through you and your stories my kids get to know about different people and places and ways of living. I love this. And along these same lines, I hope the parents of my former students were OK with me influencing a generation of my students to rock out to Air Supply.

I love you for understanding when they come without a permission slip/mittens/math homework and not judging, just supporting and helping. Sometimes we don’t have it all together around here, but we are trying. I know that you have my back on the other side when you send that second permission slip before I even ask or send a second math homework book just in case we can’t find the first one on a given night. I also appreciate you checking the lost and found repeatedly for our lost whatevers. We are forever indebted to you for filling in our gaps.

I love you for keeping the fun in childhood even when testing and standards threaten to squeeze this out. Lumberjack day, pizza parties, field trips, whole school olympics, mini-courses to learn for two days anything you want with choices so endless I don’t know how I would pick (I’m torn between Day at the Spa and Tasty Tours), goofy birthday celebrations or book-it-and-bag-it all day reading days or ending the day with a dance party. Keeping the fun in the days of our kiddos is what they will always remember, so much more than the math or science. Childhood is short, thank you for embracing it.

I love you for being the champion of the underdog and the average joe and the high flyer. I see how you love all your students and want more for all of them. You see the needs of each and strive to meet them. You really know them and are willing to fight for each and every one, sometimes when it seems that no one else does. Thank you for being there for them all – even the ones that are not always easily loveable.

I love you for refusing to be overwhelmed and instead just doing the next best thing you can do for your students. So much is thrown at you and so many in the world are just willing to find what is wrong with education. So much lands on your lap and society just wants you to somehow fix it. Among this you just quietly continue to do your work day in and day out. I see you finding the joy in your students and I know that this bolsters you. Thank you for your focus on the work, for leaving the stress at the door, for keeping your eye on the prize.

I love you for sometimes ignoring me when I am clouded by being so close to my kiddo, your perspective makes me see my child more clearly. Our kids are taking a stab at being out in the world each day in your classroom, sometimes they will make a miss and sometimes those misses are big. Thank you for helping them negotiate this world and gently steering them back when needed. Thank you for being honest about their behavior and needs so we can do the same. Knowing we are working together makes all the difference – go Team Us.

I love you for constantly striving to learn and grow so things can be better for your students even though this means more work for you. I have seen you bringing stacks of books home, reading constantly over the summer, attending countless classes on your own time, getting degrees that are expensive and get you nowhere financially, trying new ways of teaching that your literacy coach finds and that you might think are a little crazy, and constantly challenging yourself to keep on top of the best research out there. You do none of this for yourself, it is for your students. Your minds are wide open and learning and therefore your students’ minds can be too.

I love you for being that person my child can’t wait to see. I thought I always would be my child’s favorite, but surprisingly I am A-OK with you taking this spot in my child’s world for this year. Your word might override mine in some areas, but I am just fine with you being the end-all-be-all of math instruction if it makes my child excited about math. I am happy to learn a new way to support you and my child or to stand back and say, “hmm….ask your teacher tomorrow, mom’s not sure” then I go back to being mom. I love that my child can’t wait to get to school to see you each day and doesn’t want to leave 4K without telling you he loves you one more time or spends his morning wondering if your hair will be curly or straight today. A child who wants to be at school each day can’t help but learn so much.

I adore you dear teachers, I am so lucky to have you in my kids’ lives and to get to be a part of your work world is an extra bonus. Know that you are loved and that we parents have your backs. Thanks for being in the trenches with us as we guide our children forward through this often crazy world.

With love and affection,

A Grateful Mom


This article originally appeared on Hiding In The Closet With Coffee

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Fearless Daughter

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl on playground

Imagine you are at the playground with your kid(s), and you look over to see someone else’s kid launching themselves off the tallest tower on the entire playground. You feel your heart stop for a second, you suck in a sharp breath. You think to yourself, or maybe you even say it out loud, “Oh my gosh!” That kid—the one who is always finding the most dangerous way to do literally everything? That’s my kid. Truthfully, that’s both my kids, my youngest just isn’t tall enough to join in on the real danger yet. RELATED: Raising a Wild Child Is...

Keep Reading