Dear beautiful child,

I want you to know that I see you.

I see you working harder than some of your peers have to.

I see you spending afternoons at tutoring when you want to be with your friends.

I see you leaving class early to attend meetings when everyone seems to be talking about you instead of to you. I know we should be asking you what you need and want—not telling you.

I hear you saying you don’t want to know your grades because you tried your best, and you’re afraid your grades won’t reflect your efforts and desires.

I hear you telling me you don’t want to look different from other children.

I hear you telling me you don’t want to disappoint your parents, and you want to make them proud.

I hear you telling me you want to be proud of yourself.

I want you to know that I see your progress, and I am so proud of you.

I know you often miss lunch because it takes time for you to read the test questions and check your work on the standardized tests. And there seem to be so many standardized tests.

I know you often fear that others won’t see the beauty inside of you, but I promise you they do.

I’ve read your letters that you don’t want to be treated differently.

I’ve learned you don’t always want your unique and special needs recognized.

I want you to know that I see how hard you try. I know how much you want to succeed and it tears at my heart when you don’t.

I want you to know you are not alone. I notice, and I am so impressed by you.

Keep holding your head high and know that you are loved and you are admired.

Your teacher who will never stop believing in you

Originally published on the author’s page

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Andrea Smolin

Andrea is a special education teacher in Virginia Beach, wife to a police officer, and mommy to three wild and amazing little men. She is passionate about working hard, equality, and living a healthy life. She is a lover of all things- especially when they involve caffeine and wine. Her work has been featured through Her View from Home, Scary Mommy-It’s Personal, Reader's Digest, Red Mill Living, Pregnancy Corner, Kindness Matters, and Love What Matters. When she isn't dreaming of saving the world, she is chasing after her three boys. Follow her on her Facebook page: or on Twitter @Andreapsmolin