I was 22-years-old when I stood in front of the chalkboard, looking out at my very first class. Twenty-seven excited and nervous little grade one faces looked back at me, possibly mirroring my own feelings of being a teacher for the first time.
I loved my job and I loved my students; they were 'my kids' before I actually had my own. Teaching was hard work, sometimes exhausting, but it was a great career, very fulfilling. The energy of the children, the eureka moments and the growing and learning that surrounded me every day was what kept me coming back for more.
Since starting my family I have stayed at home with my daughters, so it's been five years since I've had the back-to-school jitters. The butterflies are already in my stomach, but this time it's not going to be me heading through the classroom door...
My oldest daughter is off to school for the first time and the thought of it has me once again, nervous and excited.
I always knew how great the responsibility of a teacher was, but it wasn't until I became a mother myself that I understood just how much it meant to have such an influence on another person's child. Teachers aren't just teaching math, marking papers and assigning homework. They're character building. They are standing in front of a room full of sponges, that are ready to absorb whatever comes at them.
Patience, knowledge, good judgement, kindness, honesty, happiness, love and more patience. These are the traits that I wish for every teacher to carry with them throughout the school year. It's a challenge to offer all these things to our own children on a daily basis, imagine doing it for a room full of kids, that aren't even your own?
That's the job of a teacher -- to do all of that, to the best of their ability, for our children.
As parents, let's try to remember that teachers are human and nobody is perfect. It's hard to be your very best 100% of the time, yet this is what we ask of teachers. It isn't reasonable nor is it realistic. Let's treat our teachers well. Let's support them on a human to human level, so they have the stamina to be there for our kids when they need them.
This September, I won't be greeting children at the classroom door as I once did. Instead, I'll be on the other side of the fence, loosening the grip of the shy little girl hiding behind my leg. I'll gently nudge her towards that big school for the very first time and I'll put the safety and well being of my precious child in the hands of a teacher.
So teacher, as I deliver my sweet little girl to you, please know that I support you and I understand that even though she's not your own, you'll treat her as if she is.
And for this I am grateful.