Goodbyes and Thank Yous

Teaching-Gratitude (1)

Today is the last day of school for my 10-year old twins. This last day is different from the others. You see, we are moving. So this day is not only the last day of fifth grade for my boys, but also the last day with their friends — many of whom they’ve known since preschool. It’s the last day in a fairly small school district where we are on a first name basis with the administration, and where we know enough parents to feel like someone always has an eye on our kids. There’s lots of comfort here.

And it’s the last day with their teachers. Because they’ve each only had two teachers in their five years in this district, saying goodbye is hard. (In our public Montessori program, the children have the same teachers for three years in a row.) This goodbye is packed with sincere gratitude followed by an aching fear that teachers to come won’t be as thoughtful, caring, patient … and just overall amazing.

I’ve been so busy making and checking off to-do lists as I prepare for this move that I haven’t made time to feel. I haven’t felt much sadness at leaving our home of almost eight years. When my thoughts turn to my friends, tears are held back by the realization that I’ll only be an hour away. But thinking about leaving my boys’ teachers opens the floodgates wide.

These women are more than teachers, you see. They are caretakers, boo-boo menders and heart tenders. They are character shapers and boundary makers. While turning lessons into learning they wear the hats of comedians, magicians and circus ring leaders.

To these teachers, I say thank you from the depths of this mom’s heart. Your devotion and commitment to your profession (your art) earned my trust. A trust in which I placed my boys’ hearts and their minds. Because I knew they would believe what you said not only about the world, but about them. And your confidence in them became their faith in themselves. You took the time to know them and to challenge them. You held their hearts when they were fragile, and demanded them to perform when you knew they could.

You’ve been a staple on my parenting team. A love of learning, fierce appetite for books, and a deep respect and empathy for others are characteristics we’ve worked together to instill in my boys. Thank you for all you’ve done, for pouring yourselves into your work — into them.

Your shoes will be hard to fill. But regardless of who stands in front of their classrooms moving forward, you’ve laid a strong foundation that will help them succeed. They are critical thinkers, analysts and problem-solvers because you realize these skills have more value in today’s world than ever-changing facts and figures. They will take these characteristics along with the confidence you helped instill to their new school and beyond. To you we are forever grateful.

 

 

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