Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Letter to Parents (From a teacher)

This is what I should have wrote...

Image Source: User Unsplash,

Dear Parents,

Welcome to another school year! Rejoice!

Before I hand you my class guidelines. Before you ask what your child can do for extra credit. Before I stay up for hours at night planning the ‘perfect’ lesson, I want to share a few words with you.

First, thank you. I do not take the privilege of teaching lightly. It is an awesome responsibility to embark on a learning journey with young people. My colleagues and I take this honor seriously. A grand majority of us teachers are really, really good at what we do. We work hard, are extremely educated, and are continuously improving. We believe in your child and will do everything possible to give him/her the education they deserve.

Second, I care for the person your child is. You know your child is more than a test score or a growth metric. So do I. One of my biggest goals is to treat your child with respect and help him/her think critically, create constantly, and dream big. I don’t want this for just your child, I want this for all children. Each child is special and has enormous potential regardless of race, socioeconomic condition, ability, past circumstances, or prior difficulties. I believe that education should empower all children. I believe it is a social justice issue. So while your child is understandably your biggest concern, please realize I must work for all children, not just yours.

Third, please forgive me in advance. I will mess up at some point this year. I will misplace a paper, make a grading mistake, or lose my temper. It happens. I am human. All of us are. So are your children. Remember that. They will not be perfect. Nobody is. Don’t let one mistake overshadow all the great stuff that will go on in the classroom this year.

I look forward to working with you. Some of my ideas will be different than what you are used to. Some of my thoughts might seem contrary to accepted wisdom. You probably won’t walk into a quiet classroom or see your child seated in a row. I hope you view this as a good thing. If not just ask me. I have made education my life. I have a deep affinity for pedagogy, for practice, and for reflection. There is (almost) always a rhyme to my reason.

Enough from me. Stop by and say hi. Sent me an email or leave me a message. Hopefully this year will be as great as I plan.



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