Thursday, July 21, 2016

To the teacher of my small, anxious child...

Dear Teacher,

Hi. I am the Mother of one of your students. I know you have many. And they are all so important. But this is my child. And she matters to me. For her, school is hard. I understand, I do, that the demands placed on students and teachers to perform, are incredibly taxing, and so many children find starting school hard. But she is mine, and she matters to me.

And she is precious. You don't know, how could you? Who would expect you to? But she is. She is a darling little girl, she is kind, and she dances around the house. She cares about her brother, and she loves babies, and she tries so hard to be helpful. She loves to do jobs around the house, and be useful. She is loving, and she is loved. She has so many people who love her so much. And she is mine, and she matters to me.

I know that she is not perfect. I understand that she can be hard work. That her little introverted ways make her a little more work than your average bear, and I know she doesn't put herself out there. I know she is a huge drama queen, and I know that she gets tired, and lazy, and unmotivated and that she sometimes just doesn't want to, and I can see how that would make your job much harder. But if you can only look, see her, and try to unlock her, she would give you everything she had.

We are not perfect parents. We shout, and lose our temper, and our kids watch too many screens, and read too few books. Maybe we should have been more present, more focused, had her writing her name and knowing her alphabet, and reciting numbers, before she came to you. I can tell you of at least a thousand mistakes I made. But we loved her, love her. In our own imperfect way. And her Daddy read her 'The Chronicles Of Narnia' tonight before bed, just after he played a game with her on the iPad. She loves Enid Blyton, and knows Silky, and Moonface, and The Saucepan Man, as well as Nemo, and Elsa, and Cinderella. She helps cook in the kitchen, and loves to measure ingredients, as well as eat McDonald's. We do our best.

But, this morning she cried. Cried and cried. Because she didn't want to go to school. She thinks nobody likes her. She wakes up at night sometimes, anxious about school. She comes home, exhausted and worn out from working hard, and trying all day long. I know some mornings, you probably see an emotional, difficult little girl who requires more effort than you can give. But she is trying, so hard. Please see her. It doesn't have to take much. But please, please, see her. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

You must understand, that for the first 5 years of her life. I was there. I was always there. Even on the bad days, even when I was the cause of the bad days. I was still there. To have to not be there for six hours a day, five days a week. Is hard. Because now, I don't know. I don't know how her days are going. How she is coping. I get told she is coping, but the child who comes home tells me she isn't, and behaves in a way that leads me to believe she isn't. There is much trust required here. And it's hard to trust, as a parent, when you don't really seem to see a teacher understanding your child. When you watch your loving child who is so responsive when she feels valued, just struggle. When school mornings at home are getting worse, rather than easier.

I know you can't make friends for her. I know that so much of that is just something she has to work out for herself. And we are trying to give her the tools to help her. I know you can't make her understand reading and writing all at once. That some children take time, and just are not ready.  But if you just look. See her. Pay attention. It will reinforce the belief that she matters. And it will help. Please see my child. Because she is mine, and she matters to me.

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