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.

"Every day this week I came in to find Miss R rocking and talking to J. I started crying when I thanked her today for making it so much easier to leave J, knowing he is in such loving hands."

“Every day this week I came in to find Miss R rocking and talking to J. I started crying when I thanked her today for making it so much easier to leave J, knowing he is in such loving hands.”

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:

  • BrandyJustina, 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
  1. September 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

    This spoke to my heart because my oldest daughter teaches. Her soul has a teachers heart and her mind a mothers wisdom. She truly loves her job but there are times when she calls me crying because of a child’s circumstance. I wish she could have parents like you every year but it doesn’t work that way always. I have seen her bruised and kicked by her students. Last year she sported a black eye for two weeks from a student. Yet she knows it isn’t that little ones fault and continues to love them. She teaches kindergarten and I can’t imagine her doing anything else. Thank you for being a good and caring mother. Your children are blessed.

    • September 6, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I feel so saddened by some of the things I hear of teachers enduring, and also by things I (only occasionally, fortunately) hear spoken of teachers. Teachers do what is, to me, one of the most important jobs here on earth, but seem to be devalued more often than rewarded for their amazing efforts. I wish I could personally say thank you to each teacher who cares and shines despite obstacles, but … this is what I can do.

      My love and respect to you and your daughter. ♥

  2. September 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Parents naturally have expectations of teachers, but parents rarely think that teachers have expectation of parents:
    Send you child to school every day, but not when they are sick.
    Have your child arrive at school on time.
    Make sure your child has everything they need for their day at school.
    Give them a proper breakfast.
    Make sure they get a good night’s sleep
    Read to them from birth
    Teach them respect and manners before they go to school.
    Make sure they do their homework and work on assignments before the night before.
    Work with your child’s teacher not against – we both want the best for your child.
    Allow you child to experience failure when appropriate, so that they become resilient and self-confident in their own abilities.
    Let your child know that just being born doesn’t make them entitled to an easy life.
    Be your child’s parent.

    • September 7, 2014 at 10:02 am

      I think every human being has expectations of every other human being they interact with, whether or not they address it overtly. It’s rare for people to come out and state them explicitly, and rarer still for true dialogue about them to occur, though I wish that weren’t so.

  3. September 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    I love this. I’ve always felt it’s a huge leap of faith to leave your “babies” in the care of other adults. Your post made me stop and think about every teacher in my children’s lives. And I’m newly grateful to them. Thank you.

    • September 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

      ♥ It really is a leap of faith! In this school’s case, I asked a gabillion questions after reading Gavin de Becker’s Protecting the Gift. I ended those questions satisfied I was leaving them somewhere safe. Everything else I’ve seen since–even the admonishments!–leaves me content in the knowledge there’s so much more goodness than “safe” at play here. Indeed, when we joked with Li’l D yesterday that the teachers were holding a special Saturday session just for him, he said he preferred to spend the evening with us … but did want to hop out of the car and give Miss A a hug. He then said it two more times just in case we didn’t understand. 😉

  4. September 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I think I loved this one, it made me smile and made me happy. The small things our children learn in the classroom early, these are the things they carry for a lifetime. The love of learning, it is likely the most critical lesson of all. You and your sons, you are most fortunate.

    Your sons teachers, they are also most fortunate because you see them and thank them.

    • September 7, 2014 at 10:07 am

      It really is the twin goodness of being cared for and being demonstrated a love of learning that will serve them best in the years ahead! I’m grateful my sons have this opportunity to learn these things, though saddened early education isn’t more widely emphasized here in the States in light of how essential it is to later development …

      *big hugs*

  5. September 8, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Oh, I love the picture of the teacher (J?) holding your wee one! Delicious! My two littlests are at a Montessori school this year, one we’ve sent each of our children to. I was a little nervous about the teacher my 2yo was placed with, but then this morning I found she was switched to the teacher my 5yo had, who is basically all love and softness. Yes, please!

  6. September 12, 2014 at 8:09 am

    We have been very lucky with both of my sons teachers and all of them have been passionate about our kids learning and expressing themselves through creativity .

  1. September 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm
  2. October 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm
  3. December 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm
  4. December 5, 2014 at 10:20 am
  5. December 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm
  6. February 21, 2015 at 9:35 am
  7. March 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm
  8. May 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm
  9. August 21, 2015 at 5:55 am

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