Thank you for sharing your child with me this school year.

August is a natural high for teachers. We work all summer to renew ourselves and gear up for a fresh school year. We eagerly print, laminate, color, glue, staple, and decorate in preparation for the arrival of our precious new students. The hype is invigorating.

The school year gets going and we are consumed with building relationships and teaching structure and routine. We work hard to cultivate a safe and engaging learning community for all students to thrive in. Our goal is to discover how each kid learns, what their likes and dislikes are, and to make a personal connection to them somehow some way. The hustle and bustle are critical for the year to be successful.

Somewhere along the way, your child became one of mine. 

I call them my kiddos and mean it in the truest possible sense. I think about them at home during the evening and over the weekends.

I worry about them when they are sick and unable to come to school. 

I pray for them and hope they are filled with joy as they spend time with your families. 

I sincerely miss them over breaks and am happy to see their smiling faces when they return.

Each year our class becomes a family. 

Each year my heart grows as it makes room for my precious friends. I am a better person because I get to grow alongside them. Yes, I teach the required academics and make sure every student is prepared for the next grade level, but I value far more important lessons for my learners. I teach them to work collaboratively with others and to use manners with all they encounter. We focus every day on kindness and talk through differences and obstacles. I model having a growth mindset and try to instill a love for learning in all.

But the most critical lesson I reinforce over and over again is that I believe in them and love them.

If they walk out of my door understanding how I feel about them then I consider my job to be done.

So thank you, dear parents. Thank you for sharing your precious treasures with me.  Thank you for entrusting me with your students each day and allowing me the pleasure of serving as their teacher this year.

My memories will be filled with lightbulb moments, laughter, dancing, hugs, and high-fives. I will forever hold a special place in my heart for your darlings and will remember them fondly.

And my prayer is that your children never forget how special they are to me.

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Erin Uhlaender

I am a child of God and saved by His grace. I am a single mommy raising my daughter in Austin, Texas. I teach first grade by day and blog during my free time. I would love to connect with you via my blog, http://throughgritandgrace.com, or Twitter at handle @gritandgrace_TX. We each have a story and I can't wait to hear yours!