Most mornings I can be found clapping my hands or snapping my fingers and loudly saying, “chop, chop” or “get the lead out” or “NO, Ali, I did not say to take all your clothes off and shake your behind at your siblings” or “hurry up, you’re going to be late.” By the time my kiddos have gotten to school I am drained; mostly emotionally, but somewhat physically, too. I put all this energy into getting these little humans ready to conquer the world…or just be mostly successful at school. This sounds so wrong, but most days I keep my mind busy with my menial tasks during the day and don’t give much thought to what they are doing at school. It’s not that I don’t think of them, of course I do, but I don’t take time to really think about what their days are filled with within those school walls.
A couple of days ago I went to lunch with Ali because she has this fear of eating hot lunch so every once in a while I go in so she can feel comfortable taking it. This time I also planned to stay for recess because she had recently told me she’s too afraid to play during recess and instead walks around with the teacher on duty. What?! How can that be? Don’t all kids love to play? Every day I find myself doing things to help her face her many fears. Sometimes it works, but lately (and more often than not) it doesn’t. As her mom I am caught between this constant tug-of-war between my head and my heart. My head is telling me to use tough love and let her learn from experience, but my heart is breaking when I see that paralyzed fear she goes through when I try to teach her the tough way. I don’t want her to live in fear of so many “every day” things. Honestly, I can’t leave a room in our house (ie, going from the living room to the kitchen even though we have a mostly open concept going on) without her following close behind or screaming for me in fear when she realizes I’m no longer in the same room as her. I’m worn.
Back to my original point, I went to Stettin to have lunch and recess with Ali and while I was there I was reminded of something that I all too often take for granted…that school is filled with many people who care for and protect Ali every single day. For someone like Ali there is absolutely no way she will be able to focus and learn if she is not feeling safe and comfortable. Every single day she thrives at school. Every single day. Not once has her teacher had to talk to me about her fears and struggles (and he has been very good about communicating as he’s aware that she struggles with anxiety), because when she is within those Stettin walls she feels safe. Now, to an average Joe or Jane this probably seems ridiculous…to me, this means the world. He has her not just surviving, but thriving!
Stettin Elementary School is my children’s public school. It is a GREAT public school filled with excellent teachers. These days teachers have so much more to worry about than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. The pressure on their shoulders is unimaginable. Do they make mistakes sometimes? Of course. Are they perfect? Nope. Am I perfect? Ha! Not even close. Are you perfect? If I can admit I’m not (I’m only slightly stubborn), I certainly hope you’re willing to admit you’re not. 😉 The teachers and support staff that surround my children ever day are invaluable. I may get them ready in the morning to have a successful day at school, but they get them ready to conquer the world. I’m tired after an hour-long morning routine to get them out the door…that’s only 5 hours a week. My children are with their teachers for 40 hours a week. Teachers are worthy of love, kindness and respect and I am so fearful that they do not get enough of it. I want them to know that deep down from the depths of my heart I am thankful for them, I appreciate them, and I have such immense respect for them.
Do you have children in school or have you ever had a child in school? Thank a teacher. Have you ever attended school? Thank a teacher. Do you know how to read and write? Thank a teacher. Do you know how to add and subtract (or for all you fancy math people, do you know how to do fancy math?)? Thank a teacher. Did you stick with me this far into the blog post? Thank a teacher.
Be Light. Be Love. Believe (in teachers).