It takes a very special person to be a teacher and I think it takes an even more special person to be a kindergarten teacher.
My oldest daughter just graduated from kindergarten and she had one of the kindest, most patient, selfless and compassionate teachers. It was such a relief to have her in the classroom, especially for my baby’s first year of school. I was so scared to send her off into the world. It was an amazing way to kick off her school career with a teacher like she had.
Full-time kindergarten is no joke. Most kids have never been to school before and are suddenly thrust into five days a week, six-plus hours a day. It’s a lot for their little brains and bodies.
I can’t imagine how many of the little ones had grumpy or tired days. My daughter has never really had to listen to anyone other than her parents. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go but she had an amazing year. She cried on her first day of school in September because she didn’t want to go and cried on her last day because she didn’t want to leave.
I fully credit this change in attitude to her teacher.
My daughter is a strong-willed child and I know some of her friends are the same. I mean, they will all be strong leaders and future politicians one day, but bless their teachers’ hearts having to nurture those possibilities. Her friends’ parents and I joked a long time ago that our daughters would retire their kindergarten teacher. So far, I haven’t heard anything, so fingers crossed she decides to stick around, at least until my other children get to have her.
This year, my daughter’s class had more than 75 per cent girls. And most of those girls are strong-willed, spirited, stubborn and spunky, sweet yet sassy. I’m sure there were days when their teacher wanted to quit or pull out her hair. But she never did. She was always there for them.
Not only did she have to deal with more than a handful of sugar and spice and everything nice but she also, along with every other teacher in the province, had to deal with the ongoing pandemic and looming possible move to online learning.
Thankfully, in B.C. schools remained open. But how hard would it be to plan a school year with that cloud over your head? Despite COVID-19, my daughter’s teacher still managed to plan (with health protocols in place) a few small field trips and tried to plan others that were cancelled because of the virus. A lot of hard work went into trying to keep things as normal as possible for our children and for that, I’ll be grateful forever.
I also want to thank my daughter’s teacher for calling me when she needed her mama. And for sitting with her when my daughter wasn’t feeling well one day, meaning she missed out on having a break because the other kids were outside for recess.
And for hanging out with her one Thursday afternoon (OK, maybe two) when I forgot it was an early pickup day. I also want to thank her for taking my daughter’s fear of a bully on the playground seriously.
Children have big feelings and having an adult help them navigate those feelings is so important. A teacher who can recognize this is going above and beyond her job.
And then there was that one Friday afternoon that my daughter forgot her lunch bag and I spent all weekend dreading cleaning out a stinky bag on Monday. But I was pleasantly surprised to open that bag and find that all of her dishes had been done and her bag was sparkly clean.
Now that is incredible.
All of the teachers this year, and every year, but especially this year during the ongoing pandemic, deserve all of our thanks. I truly believe you are all underpaid and underappreciated. It’s the little things you do every day for our children that you might feel go unnoticed… but they don’t even if we don’t say thank you enough.
I hope all the teachers can take a very well-deserved break this summer.