My sons’ teachers
What do I want from my sons’ teachers?
Perfection? No. I am not perfect, so why should I expect that from anyone else?
Unending patience? No. If that were what I sought, I’d send them to school with robots instead of human beings.
Children who immediately master everything to which they’re exposed? No. It takes me weeks and months to master my own new lessons, no matter how beautifully they’re taught. Others can only present; it’s up to the student to learn.
Book knowledge my sons will acquire as they’re ready, with guidance in and outside of school. Overall, what I want for them is knowledge and wisdom that can’t be found in books but can be found in the adults around them–me, their dad, their grandparents, their aunties and uncles, my friends, and, of course, their teachers.
I can’t be with my sons all day every day. It is their teachers who will guide my sons through most their waking hours each week and so, walking away from my sons each morning, I find myself thinking again and again what I want from their guides. What I come to again and again is that I want my son’s teachers to:
- Express what they know, tangible and intangible, and show that it’s OK not knowing; it’s by embracing not knowing that we can begin the journey to knowing
- Laugh with my children as often as possible, so that they grow up understanding life and learning are fun, not chores to be grudgingly undertaken
- Discipline with patient recognition that children are children, who don’t often mean to misbehave but don’t always yet know what’s right and wrong, and others are just too overcome by the goodness of being alive to temper their joy with burgeoning reason
- Smile at my children with the light of love in their eyes, so my sons feel through that love as if I am near at heart even when I cannot be near in body
It was so hard dropping my baby off for the first time a couple of months ago. At the end of his second full week, I walked in and found his afternoon teacher, Miss R, holding him, looking into his eyes and singing to him. I broke down crying, blubbering my thanks that he is so very well loved in my absence.
Today, two months later, I walk away from my sons’ school every morning confident that each of my sons’ teachers is imparting on my sons the lessons I most want them to learn. I drive away with a measure of sadness that I must drive away, but with enormous joy as well picturing my baby son’s open-mouth smiles of pure glee at each of the schools’ teachers. Remembering my oldest son telling me at bedtime recently, “I’m sad I’m not in Miss M’s class anymore,” and being overwhelmed with gratitude for his school when he explained further, “I like Miss A, too, but I’m going to miss Miss M.”
“You’ll still get to see her every day,” I told him while stroking his hair. As as he drifted to sleep, I couldn’t help but be gladder with each stroke that I, too, will get to see her and each of those amazing women almost every day.
That’s what I want from my sons’ teachers: for them to keep giving whatever it is they give that inspires such love from my sons.
This post is dedicated to:
- Brandy, Justina, and Sarah, teachers who don’t personally teach my sons but passionately, lovingly and quickly weighed in when I expressed concern with my eldest son’s temporary school a few months ago
- Miss C, who spoke so warmly of my eldest son when I called her crying about that same school; my son, she told me, was far too sweet a soul to suffer his days with a teacher who cared only that he sat still and more immediately excel in the ways most important to her
- Miss A, to whom my eldest son was delighted to return after his short stint elsewhere; her open communication, warmth tempered by clearly expressed expectations, and amused smiles are a blessing. She tells me he will be ready for first grade by the end of this year, and I believe it, but it’s who she is that’s most important to me now
- Miss M, whose gentleness is so immense that I feel calmed by a single smile, and who both teaches and disciplines with such tenderness it is no surprise she was able to ease my son back away from being scared of school and into being excited by it
- Miss J, who tends to my littlest one most the day; I seldom get to see her with him because she arrives after and leaves before me, but see in her loving smiles (and how my son so joyously returns them) all I need to see
- Miss R, who keeps on singing to my littlest one, and talking to him, and making me walk away every evening, with one child on my hip and another child’s hand in mine, whispering thank you