An Open Letter To My Son's Teacher: Thank You For Bringing My Baby Back

“Teachers have such power over the molding of children, and we parents entrust you to mold them in the most positive way possible.”

Last school year you showed me a child that I thought would be gone forever. You see the year before we met you, my child was slowly broken down over his entire fourth grade year. I did my best as his mother to protect him, but switching classes was not an option, and there was no room in the local Catholic School. We did our best to make it through the school year without him completely falling apart. Teachers have such power over the molding of children, and we parents entrust you to mold them in the most positive way possible.

When we met you the following year, we were both nervous and skeptical. I remember dropping him off for his first day of your class with tears welling up in his eyes. He was so scared to start the new school year after the year he had previously. I gave you a quick story about him being nervous and you welcomed him with warmth and openness. Thinking back on when I turned my son over to your care, the backs of my eyes sting, a lump forms in my throat and my knees become unsteady. I was just as scared as he was for him to start this new school year.

His previous year started off with a confident, kind child that was ready to take on fourth grade. He was sure he would make friends, play sports and get good grades. After a few weeks, he was less eager to go to school, and by midway through the year he began crying every morning. My sweet boy cried from the moment I woke him until he left the house. On many occasions, his breathing became so heavy that I contemplated pulling him out of school completely. I did everything in my power to keep his confidence from falling any lower, but this teacher had him for most of his waking hours. Her voice was louder than mine. Teachers are powerful.

“I wanted to hold and rock my boy, like I did when he was just a premature little being with monitor leads painted like buttons, covering his tiny chest.”

I wanted to hold and rock my boy, like I did when he was just a premature little being with monitor leads painted like buttons, covering his tiny chest. I wanted to squeeze him as I did when he skinned his tiny knee learning how to run. I wanted to take my child from that awful teacher and give her more than a piece of my mind, but I didn’t. I felt helpless to save my baby from this woman that was slowly breaking him. I felt like I failed him. We never expected to meet you the next year. We never expected to love school again.

In fifth grade, his school life changed when you welcomed him in your classroom. You took the time to get to know him, and his personality. You tailored your style of teaching him, to his style of learning. It started with remedial work to get him caught up, and expressed constant recognition of his efforts even when he got the problems wrong. It continued with challenging him gently, and letting him know you understood how smart he was. You comforted him when his confidence waned, but pushed him to go further than he dreamed he could. The confident child that I thought was lost forever started coming back to me. You did something that I could’ve never done on my own. Again, teachers are powerful. Teachers have the power to make or break a child, and you pour your energy into making life-long learners daily.

“You made sure we were a team in my child’s learning, and for that I am grateful.”

Homework became less of a struggle, and he started needing less and less assistance. When he didn’t get something right, he simply tried again. No tears. No arguing. No frustration. You gave that to him. I was so impressed with your teaching and compassion that I called and emailed the principal just to sing your praises. You made sure we were a team in my child’s learning, and for that I am grateful. In the end, he didn’t get promoted, but your approach to helping him understand why made all the difference. Giving him the choice to return to your classroom, while informing him your expectations will be much higher, made him feel empowered. Because of you he has the confidence to grace the same halls as last year while his friends move on. I am in awe of your heart, your skill and your desire to teach. This is me shouting from my metaphorical rooftop, thanking you for bringing my baby back. Thank you!

Child coloring
Child coloring

Karlie is the person behind the blog Stop Yelling at Me...please! She enjoys writing about life, current events and of course, parenting. Karlie is a mother of three and the wife of one supportive husband that is not being held against his will, really. She is also a contributing writer on the Today Parenting Team and a freelance writer. You can check out more of her work at stopyellingatmeplease.com

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