My five-year-old daughter finished pre-K a few weeks ago (I recently wrote about how we're using storytelling to get ready for kindergarten).
I have been thinking a lot in the last month or so about my daughter's teachers this year, whom we loved so much that if I was in the right mood (or wrong mood, depending how you look at it), I could be moved practically to tears thinking about how wonderful they were.
Although my daughter grew and learned a lot this year, what I think most about now was how deeply I trusted her teachers, and how important that feeling of trust was for me.
Parents feel this deeply: it's hard to drop your child off somewhere. (Sometimes it's great, let's be real, but it's also hard!) It made a huge difference that I felt complete faith that these two people—people I didn't even know last year!—would guide my daughter's intellectual and emotional growth all day long for ten months.
I grew up in a time when teachers were somewhat less accessible than they are now. At first, I had trouble believing that our teachers truly didn't mind if I sent them an email if my daughter had an issue (I did try to do this sparingly). When I did, our head teacher would always respond with kindness, feedback, and a plan. Many times, she would email later: "I have been checking in with R. on what we discussed, and she is doing very well!" Unbelieveable follow-up.
At the end of the year, I got anxious about the fact that we—and I do mean all of us as a family—would have to leave this class and move on to another school. With parenting comes a lot of worrying, and it brought me such relief to feel such confidence every time I dropped R. in her classroom, and to know that she would be as nurtured and supported as she was.
Every so often, she mentions one of her teachers—she asked me recently whether we could invite one of them over for dinner—but I've found that I am the one who's really dwelling on it. She will move on, as will they, but I know that her pre-K experience set a high bar for my expectations in her future schooling!
At Scholastic, we love teachers. That particular value has been instilled in me since even before I became a parent. But it is a whole different thing to feel that first-hand, to be moved emotionally by my child's educational experience.
And with that, I'll say good luck to our future kindergarten teacher! You have big shoes to fill.
photo via Julia Graeper