This week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my big kids’ school. And as we discussed last week, the countdown to the end of school is officially on! So this is a good moment to stop and thank your children’s teachers.
And we have so much to be thankful for. My baby’s daycare teachers are absolutely amazing people (as are all the infant, toddler, and preschool teachers I have ever had the pleasure of knowing). They feed my baby and change her yuckiest diapers and make her feel loved even when she cannot be at home with me. They help potty train the older children, they get a dozen toddlers to nap simultaneously (this has always seemed like sorcery to me), they bandage boo-boos, dispense hugs, and read about a million books aloud. They let the children do messy, amazing play-based learning activities like exploring goop and planting seeds that grow into strawberry plants.
My older kids’ teachers are no less fantastic. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher has been tasked with wrangling twenty little tiny children for a full school day. Can you imagine how much patience and empathy are hard-wired into this woman’s DNA? She is expected to teach five- and six-year-olds to read and do addition and subtraction and write holding a pencil properly.
On top of this, she has taught them the alphabet and the numbers one through twenty in French, and has taught them to sing several French songs. She’s also had them learn the alphabet in sign language. She brought a special theater curriculum into the classroom, and instituted some beautiful traditions: on a child’s birthday, the other children in the class are invited to stand up and say something nice about the birthday person. My daughter has never looked more pleased and proud than when her classmates took turns standing up to tell her she was funny and ran fast and they loved her.
My son’s second grade teacher is also marvelous. Have you spent any meaningful amount of time with eight-year-old children? They hardly stop moving. EVER. And she has wrangled twenty-one of them all year long, teaching them basic multiplication and grammar and how to write a real paragraph.
She’s a classical music buff, and keeps an upright piano in her classroom. She plays them Bach to help them concentrate when they’re working independently at their desks, and makes up songs to help them remember some of the weirder grammatical rules of our odd English language. She cares deeply about seeing “her kids” succeed.
I could go on and on all day. I could regale you with stories of my son’s kindergarten teacher who wore his own retainer (yes, my son had a male kindergarten teacher, and he was and is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met) to school the week my son got his retainer, so my son wouldn’t feel alone or different. I could tell you about my daughter’s preschool teacher – who my daughter thinks hung the moon – who remembers every detail about my daughter, and who regularly checks in with me to make sure ballet and swimming lessons are still going well.
And not to harp here, but teachers are barely paid a living wage. These people put body and soul into their work for very, very little financial compensation.
This is all a very long-winded way of saying we should probably write them more thank-you notes. To that end – and as promised last week – we created a free printable! Take five minutes to print out our letter and write down your child’s answers (or have them write their own if they’re old enough).
This is the least we can do for the people who give so much of themselves to our children and our families.
Download here! Teacher Thank-You Letter