As we stare down these next nine months--good grief, we're going to be together long enough to gestate an entire human being--there are a few things I'd like for you to know.
1. I think you're underpaid, undervalued, and underappreciated. If I could afford to bring you a Starbucks each morning as a token of my love and affection for what you're doing, I would. (Although, yes, I am aware that in this particular state, chances are you'd find that highly offensive. You should know that coffee gift cards are my first thought EVERY time teacher appreciation week rolls around. But, never fear, I always settle for Expo pens or Kleenex or a bag of chocolates.) Your lunch break is too short, you should never have to have recess duty, and neither should you ever have to stand outside wearing that hideous yellow-green vest after school--especially in January.
2. My children are FAR from perfect. They have, in their lifetimes, lied, been disrespectful, and even lost their minds for no apparent reason. They're typically very well behaved at school but, should something happen, the benefit of the doubt will ALWAYS start out on your side. My first response will be, "What did my son do?" not, "What is wrong with you?" And that's a promise. We're raising fallen kids in a fallen world. We're trying to do it right and I hope you'll see that, but I will never pretend they're incapable of being at fault.
3. Need a hand? I have two. I want to help out wherever and whenever I can. It allows me to see how my child is doing in your environment and it helps you get to something you might not have been able to get to otherwise. Think win-win. Amiright?
4. My children will do their work. They will do their homework. They will pay attention and focus on what you've given them. They will be respectful and kind to you and to others. OR ELSE. Yes, they are 2nd and 4th graders, but they are also tiny versions of the men we are hoping and praying they become. Our expectations for them are high and we hope yours are too.
THAT SAID. I have just one request of you.
These boys are just bigger versions of the babies I begged God for. I know they are one of so very many that will pass through your classroom between now and retirement. I know they are just one in your world of dozens. But, if you could just remember that, for me, they are one of a kind, it would do my heart good. They are not perfect, but they are mine and I love them. Remember, please, that when I hand them over to you each morning, I'm handing you my own heart, and trusting you with it.
Good luck. Chin up. After all, June is just three seasons away.