I really miss you. But not for the reasons you think.
If they didn’t yet, I hope that by now parents all over the world realize how vital you are. Because the truth is, although as parents we love our children tremendously and would give our own lives for them without a second thought, these kids of ours can sure get hard to be around all. day. long. The way you can masterfully create lessons, teach social skills, handle tantrums, put on Band-Aids, and wipe tears all while making it fun is your God-given gift and one that most parents just don’t have.
And although that in and of itself would be more than enough to miss you, those aren’t the reasons I do.
I miss you because my 6-year-old won’t be coming home every day full of news about his day. Not just about what you taught him, or what reading book he passed, but about the sweet conversation you had with him about his cats. Not just about who sat in timeout that day, or what he played at recess, but about the book you read to the class using your fun voices. Not just about what he ate for lunch or who he sat by, but about the hug you gave him at the end of the day. You have turned my shy little guy into a little conversationalist with so much to share.
I miss you because my 9-year-old won’t have any secret plans to tease me with about the surprise art projects you so beautifully come up with to give us parents. I miss you because no matter what book you happen to choose, he loves listening to you read chapter books out loud, when Lord knows I can’t get him to sit still for a read-aloud at home. I miss you because you challenge him to do hard things, and he knows he can do it because you tell him that he can. You have made my son trust himself more and to not be so afraid to make mistakes. And above all, you have taught him the importance of being kind to others.
I miss you because my 12-year-old could not possibly love middle school any more than she does. I know because she comes out of school literally every single day with a smile on her face, ready to tell me all about what amazingly creative way you taught them about a new ancient civilization. I miss you because two years ago, she was quite honestly terrified of math. And now, she confidently sits at our kitchen table and knocks out her assignments with little to no help at all. I miss you because when you tell her she can do something, she believes you with her whole heart. You have made her beautifully confident and assured her that she is amazing just the way she is.
So you see teachers, I don’t miss you because I have to be with my kids all day instead of sending them to you. I don’t miss you because I don’t want to homeschool them.
I miss you because what you do is magical, and knowing that my kids probably won’t get to have this end of the year time with you in person honestly just breaks my heart.
What you do every day is so much more than just teaching reading, math, and writing. What you do makes my children’s lives better each and every day they are with you. You work so darn hard, more often than not with so much stacked against you, getting in the way of what you really want to do.
But just know that even then, you’ve done more than you could ever imagine for my kids and for so many others. I know that none of you do what you do for the recognition, but you SHOULD be recognized for all that you do, and not just for Teacher Appreciation Week.
So thank you, teachers, for being you. Thank you for all the extra hours you are putting in right now, even more than usual. Thank you for all the lessons you are adapting and re-working to make remote learning happen, with no instruction manual as to how. Thank you for loving all the kids and loving what you do enough to make this work.
What you do matters.
And I hope now, more than ever before, you have an army of parents behind you ready to support you in what lies ahead.