To my son’s 3rd grade teacher,
The day we entered your classroom, you didn’t know it, but as a parent, I was scared.
We were approaching my son’s fourth year of attending school, and so far his hatred for it was only becoming stronger.
We didn’t know it yet, although I suspected for a while, but he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. With his ADHD comes heightened emotional responses, and struggling with learning and focus, issues his previous school hadn’t understood. Entering your classroom that day, I was unsure if things would change for him.
It would be his first year at a new school and it was your first year teaching at this new school. I, like any mother, was worried we would continue down the same path.
Thankfully, you helped my son and me direct a better course.
You see, the difference you’ve made in his life will ripple for the rest of his life.
I write this so you and any other teachers questioning their career choice can remind themselves of the difference they can make.
You see, my son’s life so far has included a lot of trauma. I had him when I was 19, and despite my best efforts, I haven’t always known what I was doing. Not that many parents do, but I barely knew how to be an adult, let alone a parent. He then was witness to rage and anger in a toxic marriage for the formative years of his life, something I as a mother harbor a lot of guilt over. Through all of this, I kept trying. I kept working hard to make sure he would learn and grow. I tried to instill a love for school in him like I had but it seemed that he couldn’t enjoy something that was so difficult for him.
That is, until you.
It’s clear to me now that your passion-fueled purpose is teaching. And I think whether you taught 5-year-olds or 17-year-olds, your love would spill over.
You became his first advocate, and you happily passed me that torch. As a parent who was ready for answers, I’m sure you were happy to get the response from me that you did. One of caring and understanding rather than defense. I knew the things you were telling me about my son came from a place of caring and love.
It’s every parent’s hope when setting foot in a classroom that her child’s teacher will take the time to care about him as much as she does.
You take the time to care about every one of your students—not just mine—and that is how it should be.
My son was at a 1st grade level, despite my best efforts and his previous school’s efforts. Thankfully, you weren’t afraid to speak for him. Not only did you speak for him, but you also showed me exactly how I could advocate for him.
And even when the tests showed he struggled, but not enough to warrant intervention, you promised me you would still accommodate his needs. The fact that my son grew two whole grade levels before the end of one school year speaks to your abilities. When he surpassed growth levels of even his oldest schoolmates, four and five years older than him, it was clear his teacher is exceptional. As I watched him walk across the stage to accept an end of the year honors awards, I thanked God for you.
Perhaps when you went to college for teaching, you dreamed of a classroom and children and a job that would feel rewarding. And then, with all the mix-up and mess of education politics, you were worried that your purpose and passion for that purpose would get lost in the shuffle.
I’m here to tell you that you are succeeding.
You are making a difference.
And don’t forget it.
As a teacher, you are in the direct path of changing a child’s life. You’ve changed my son’s.
I’m so grateful that someone like you has the opportunity to change so many more lives throughout your career.
Thank you, from one mother to a teacher. You’ll never know the depth of my gratitude.
A grateful mother