I don’t know if you noticed, but your child came to class today without their coat…and it’s 40 degrees outside. What would you like me to do with them for recess?
You may not have realized that your child didn’t do their homework again…even though I have let you know every other time your child didn’t complete their homework. Do you check it?
Did you know that your child forgot to bring their lunch to school…again?
Do you see the behavior notices that I am sending home? Do they raise any concerns?
I admit that sometimes I don’t have the most loving attitude towards you. I secretly feel that if you did your job better, my job would be easier…and you probably feel the same way about me! I know that you are frustrated with me for many things as well!
Can I let you know something? I am overwhelmed. I love your kiddo and would jump in front of a bullet for them, but I feel like a failure at meeting the individual needs of my entire classroom of students. I know I am not meeting all the needs of your child – trust me, I know! I have 18 students, and the feeling of not being able to meet all of their needs about drives me to quit teaching.
I can’t tell you how much I desperately desire to send your kids out of my classroom one year later as children who are kinder, more responsible, and more in love with their Savior. I also want to try to help them become smarter, help them to try and stay organized, teach them academic lessons, how to get along with others at recess, get them to their art, music, PE and private lessons on time, be their nurse, their counselor, their cheerleader, their disciplinarian…while keeping up with lesson planning and the mass of paperwork that I am responsible for grading.
But you probably feel pretty overwhelmed, too. You do it all day every day for 18+ years. There is no summer vacation or Christmas break for you. There is no end of the year. You have to hold down your own full time jobs and all the pressures that go along with that, come home to fix dinner/do laundry/take care of the home, car, yard; pay your bills on time, get your kids to all their extracurriculars, keep up with church activities, and get your kids out the door early in the morning because you have to be at your job on time. God has ultimately placed the responsibility for your children in your hands. Wow. I feel overwhelmed just looking at all you have got on your plate.
And all of a sudden, I understand how your child can walk out the door without a coat or lunch. I understand that homework isn’t being checked like it should be because maybe you are just trying to hold everything together and keep up with it all. That maybe you let your child get away with something because you are just so tired of dealing with the same issues over and over again, and you don’t even know what to do about it.
I can understand because that is how I can send them home without the study guide that I forgot to hand out in the end of the day chaos.
I can understand because it’s how I forgot to communicate with you in advance about those supplies that were needed to be brought in to school today.
I can understand because that is how I missed that issue involving your child that happened at school today.
Now, it doesn’t mean it’s right when you or I drop the ball in different areas…but when we look at all each other has going on, it might help us to understand one another better. It may help both of us to be a little more willing to extend grace to each other.
So maybe instead of criticizing you, I should start praying for you. I pray for the school staff, my students, the school…but am I praying for you? That God would give you wisdom as you raise your child? That God would give you grace to juggle all of your responsibilities? Certainly it is a far better use of my time and energy than grousing about how parents today are too lenient, how they don’t care, how they’re raising their kids all wrong.
And can you pray for me? Pray that I would have wisdom as I work with your child throughout the day. Pray that God would give me discernment in meeting the needs of a classroom full of kids that are each uniquely different. Pray that God would give me grace as I juggle all of the paperwork and planning involved in teaching as well as reaching the hearts of my students.
Pray that God would help both of us live “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
Pray that God would give both of us His wisdom that is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).
We are on the same side.
We are both fighting to prepare your child to grow to love and serve Christ in a hostile culture .
We may use different tactics, but at the end of the day, our goal is the same.
To “[show] to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done…That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:4,7)
It’s a huge responsibility that we can’t fulfill on our own or even working together – we both desperately need God’s grace!
So let’s prayerfully, graciously move forward together, knowing that we also have the King of Kings on our side giving us all that we need to steward the gift of your child!
Your Child’s Teacher