Dear Parents:

I am sorry.

Today is the hardest part of my school year. Today, I have to sit across a table from you and give you a long list of those things that your child cannot do. Today I have to show you graphs and charts that show just how far below the “average” you little child is. When I pull these numbers out, we will have to clinically discuss that little child’s inability to read like his friends, to complete math problems, to perform sometimes basic classroom functions, social functions. At the end of this meeting, we will leave feeling exhausted, and a little defeated.

Maybe a lot defeated.

But I see you. I see you as you try to hold back your disappointment at the numbers. How you try to make sense of these tests and how they add into discouraging charts. I see the tears you hold back when the realization of what this meeting means sinks deeply into your heart.

More importantly, I see your child. I see beyond these required by law test numbers. I see the creativity your child has. The wonderful sense of humor. I see how your child plays with friends.

I know your child’s determination and hard work. I feel how your student tries day after day after day to meet all the rigorous requirements of the classroom. How even when he’s discouraged, he gets up the next day and tries. And tries. And tries. And feels so frustrated when things don’t click.

At this age, some of these kids begin to notice they’re falling behind . . . and I see how some days your student feels like a failure.

And today, while we sit across the table, understand these numbers and charts do not predict the future. They do not create a sum of what a child really is. They are simply numbers that give us guidance and ideas. Numbers that are not any part of who your child really is. Or what they will become.

Parents, I am so sorry to give you this news. But in the end these numbers are not the part of your child that matters most.

And thank you. Thank you for sharing this little person with me. Because I see your student . . . and this is a student full of beautiful potential. And I feel beyond blessed that I am the person who gets the opportunity to help them reach for their stars.

Originally published on Unexpected Abilities

Sheelagh Lucas

I am a mother, wife, teacher, advocate and writer.  I love sharing my stories and hearing yours!