Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

My teacher-friend, Sarah, shared this on Facebook (Thanks, Sarah!).  Tomorrow being the first day of school, it makes for a perfect post. It was written by Krista Ramsey, a columnist for

Dear Teachers: Thanks for Loving Our Kids

This is the first of much correspondence you'll receive from us this year.

We'll write to beg for an extension on our children's math assignment.

"Soccer practice went late last night and there was no time for homework and we're sure you'll understand because it's Jake's first year in select and it really matters."

We'll scribble a note to ask that you move our sensitive Lucy away from domineering Evelyn - but not near chatty Suzy and as far away as possible from mean Renee.

We will write to remind you of our children's orthodontist appointments, allergy shots, physical therapy sessions for the torn ACL, early dismissals every Thursday so we can get them to ballet classes on the other side of town.

And please note that Aaron will be gone the entire week after Thanksgiving since we couldn't schedule our winter vacation any other time.

We'll email a request for extra science homework for our Anthony, who you'll recall is gifted. But could you lighten up on that weekly vocabulary list? Asking fifth-graders to remember eight definitions every week is just too stressful.

And could you stop requiring outside reading on weekends? And we don't think it's fair you took Jenna's cell phone away since she was just talking to her mom. And please make sure Darren brushes his teeth after lunch. And Michael says he's never called on. And don't forget to remind Andi that she takes Bus 12 to her grandma's on Wednesdays.

And what's up with the A- in social studies? As you'll recall, Anthony is gifted.

These are the messages you'll get from us.

Then there's that one we'll keep forgetting to send.

Thank you for letting Ellen sit outside the circle. She's been really quiet since our puppy died.

Thanks for nominating Troy for the choral award. He's never been nominated for anything before.

We appreciate your staying after school to go over law of cosine with David - for the seventh time.

How kind of you to stop by the hospital to see Leah. It took her mind off of her treatment.

Thanks for knowing Micah didn't want you to mention his perfect score in front of everyone else.

Thanks for your last class newsletter, reminding parents it's no fun to be the only one not invited to a birthday party.

Carlos said you think he should step up to accelerated language arts next year. We agree.

Thanks for inviting Nick to try ski club. Kids with hearing impairments often get left out.

Trey's in at Vanderbilt! Thanks for writing the recommendation letter.

These are the letters we will mean to send. But somehow we won't find the time.

To be honest, sometimes we just don't have the right words, or maybe the emotional composure, to say thanks for loving our kids.

For seeing through their bad behavior to their good hearts.

For pulling the one thing they're fantastic at out of all the things they stink at.

For protecting the tender little kid who's hiding inside the sulky adolescent.

For hacking through their failures to make a path for their successes.

For knowing what they love before they do.

As you start the school year, know this: You will change someone's life this year.

You will say a kind word to a child that you'll forget the next day, and the child will remember for the rest of his life.

You'll be the safe place for the child beaten down by bullies, the stable place for the one losing his home, the hopeful place for the kid who sweats out every assignment.

So thanks for touching their lives this year, along with our hearts. You really do hold the future in your hands.

Krista Ramsey's column appears Friday and Sunday. Email her at


  1. Love this. It's sad but true that we don't send those good notes, at least not nearly as much as we should!

  2. I LOVE that Barb, thanks for sharing. Best of luck to you in the new school year:) Lisa R.

  3. Thanks for sharing! The "baby" is a senior and this made me cry!

  4. Just lovely. As a daughter of a retired teacher, I thank you and all teachers. You are overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated.

    I wish you a wonderful year!

  5. Terrific letter. I wish my older granddaughter had a teacher who knew how to encourage and not put down.

  6. That letter brought back memories and a bit of acid reflux. I remember thinking about all of the "special" kids who were not so "special" too. I used to have an overwhelming urge to walk into my first day of class, the first hour, with the homeroom kids, and ask, Okay, if you are just normal, please stand up. Then I would escort the ONE kid would dared to stand to another special class. Everyone know is gifted, talented, sensitive, ADD, ADHD, has emotional problems, has reading problems, eye problems, tactile issues, etc.


Your 2 cents...