To my students’ parents:

This time of year is incredibly exhausting. Between the stresses of testing, planning for the next school year (and in some cases, just hoping there’ll still be funding for positions), and generally trying to keep control of the chaos when the children are full of spring fever and everyone feels burned out and desperate for summer, we might not get to tell you how we really feel about your child.

The truth we don’t always get to tell you is just how much we love them. 

One of the more bittersweet parts of being a teacher is looking out into a classroom at the end of the school year and seeing a particular group of children that will never be there together, all at the same time, again. We spend 180 days gathered together as a unit, as a class. They work alongside one another, sometimes growing frustrated with one another, but they learn to function and grow as a group. They lift one another up, they accomplish goals, and they grow. You may have heard it said about parenting that the days are long but the years are short. It’s true about teaching, too. And when June arrives, my time is up. Even though there were crazy days when I wanted to pull my hair out, I can’t help but feel sad it’s over. 

Do you remember the feeling you had when you dropped them off for school on the first day? You were hopeful, nervous, and maybe a bit sad to see them growing so fast? I feel a very similar feeling as they exit my classroom door on that last day. 

You see, over the course of the school year, I’ve watched your children morph into stronger, better versions of themselves. As if by magic, they grow taller, braver, and wiser.

I’ve watched them struggle with challenging concepts and high-fived them for grades they worked to earn, my heart full of pride.

I watched them cry over hurt feelings, and then witnessed them talk out conflicts, say I’m sorry, and forgive one another.

I’ve seen them come up with incredible ideas to solve problems.

I’ve watched them quietly extend kindness to others.

I’ve seen them overwhelmed, on the verge of giving up, and I have looked them in the eye and seen perseverance.

I’ve seen them make mistakes, and I have called them out on it.

I’ve fussed at them, I’ve hugged them, I’ve loved them, and I have called them mine. 

So, in case we don’t get to talk at that end-of-year party or during the Awards Day ceremony, I really want to tell you how much I love your children. I want to tell you thanks for sharing them with me for the last 180 days. And while you might see me doing a cartwheel about a much-needed summer vacation, please know that your children will forever be in my heart, and I’ve seen those little things, those unique personality traits that make each of your children special, and I love them, too. 

Briana Bradley Wilson

 I'm a  30-year-old wife and mom with a crazy journey to motherhood. My husband and I are both educators. We adopted a 7 year old little girl who is now a thriving, beautiful 13-year-old, and we also adopted a newborn with a heart defect who passed away in November. We went through six miscarriages as well. I am a Jesus girl, coffee enthusiast, middle school teacher, and I write about parenting, grief and loss, adoption, and faith.