Editor’s Note: We started off Teacher Appreciation Week with a message from a teacher, our own Sarah Brown Wessling, and we want to end that way too. This time, we have a guest blogger–Lily Jones, a Kindergarten teacher in Oakland, CA. Here’s her “love letter to teachers.”
Once a parent of a kindergartner in my class told me, “I can’t wait for you to have kids! Then you’ll see how important a good teacher is.” I didn’t know what she meant—I knew what a good teacher was. After teaching for seven years, I had worked with a slew of amazing teachers and had always aspired to be a good teacher myself. My simple definition was that a good teacher helps all students learn.
But then I had my daughter. When Matilda was born in February, I gained a new appreciation for teachers. Though she’s only three months old, I can imagine the security I’ll feel when I know she’s learning from a committed, vibrant teacher. I dream that she’ll have teachers who will spark her curiosity, inspire her to learn, push her to try new things, and hug her when she falls down. To know that I could send my daughter to school in the care of someone who appreciates her as the quirky individual that she is—well, that’s pretty much the best thing I can think of.
All the day after day things my fellow teachers and I have done now seem awe-inspiring. We’ve sat next to students, refusing to leave them until they’ve understood how to multiply. We’ve taught kids to read, letter-by-letter and sound-by-sound. We’ve hugged kids when they’re sick, tired, or overwhelmed. We’ve taught kids why it’s never okay to put someone else down. I realize now that what I thought was just one aspect of teaching is in fact the most important thing: good teachers love their students. Yes, teaching is about the content and results and success. But for any of these to happen, love needs to be there. I am filled with gratitude at the thought of someone else loving my daughter so much that they inspire her to learn.
I can’t wait until Matilda starts school, so I can smother her teachers with appreciation. For now, my hat is off to all of you. Thank you for loving and teaching all of our kids. Sending love from the mom of one of your future students—may you know how much you are truly appreciated!