I know you’re feeling anxious. I know you’ve been patiently awaiting classroom placements since, what—around two weeks before school let out last year? Does that sound about right?
I know you’re wondering what I’ll be like and how I’ll connect with the students who will flourish within these walls for the next nine months. I know you’re questioning whether or not I’m genuinely qualified to be here, pouring into the hearts and minds of these children—especially yours.
And yet, here we are.
So I want to let you in on a little secret. I want to tell you something I don’t often admit, except to my sweet husband over dinner, or when I call my mom in a mess of tears.
I’m feeling a bit uneasy, too.
I’ve also been anxiously awaiting classroom placements. I’ve been thinking about the students who will fill these seats, hoping and dreaming and praying about what this year might have in store for our little family. That’s what we become, after all: a family, sharing this room, celebrating each other’s successes and spurring one another on toward greatness.
I, too, have been wondering about how my personality will mesh with the personalities of all these little people I’m blessed to call “mine” for a short time. And while I know without a doubt I am qualified to be here, to be standing before your child imparting in him a love of learning, I fear failure. Because, you see, I’m human, too, and it terrifies me to think of letting you or your child down.
I know you expect a lot out of me and the growth I will help your child achieve this school year, but I can assure you no one expects more out of me than I do. So as we navigate this year together, as we work as a team to cultivate your child’s rare gifts, I ask only a few things of you, teammate.
I ask that you would be gracious. I ask that you would take the time to sit down with me, to hear what I have to say and understand my heart for these kiddos. I promise, it will come in handy for when I mess up down the road, because you will be able to trust in me and my true character.
I ask that you would respect me, always treating me with kindness, knowing that this calling is one that I take seriously. I ask that you would recognize the power of your words and use that power accordingly, ensuring that you always speak to me in a way you’d desire your child to emulate.
I ask that you do your part. And please believe me when I say I understand how incredibly busy you are. I know the demands you face each day, whether you’re working full or part-time, raising other children, volunteering in your kids’ classrooms and the community, or finally making yourself a priority for once. We would all be so much better off, though, if you would take the five minutes to look through your child’s schoolwork, read the newsletter about what’s happening in our classroom, and check that e-mail I sent out this afternoon. I know you have bigger fish to fry, but I promise this will make us a much stronger team, which will have a tremendous impact on your child’s success this year.
I ask that you would remember this is all a journey that takes time, perseverance, and patience. That you would know grades are just grades, and your child will figure it out. It may be later than the rest of the class, but I’m not comparing his abilities, so neither should you. And I ask that when he does reach that milestone, when everything finally clicks for him, you would celebrate it. Praise his efforts that led him to this place, reminding him it’s not as much about the product as it is that arduous process.
And, most importantly, I ask that you would be easy on yourself. That you would know it’s OK if you forget to sign that folder or practice for the spelling test that one, crazy week. I would never ask that you extend me grace I’m not willing to extend in return. I’m also fully aware that, while I believe what we do in this classroom is of the utmost importance, what happens beyond these walls will shape your child significantly more than I ever could.
Because, while school is your child’s “job” for this season, it won’t be that way forever. And I’d much rather her walk out of my classroom a good human than a good student.
So here we are, at the precipice of yet another school year. Let’s do this—together.