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By Ms. Jenson

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About this blog: I am a language arts teacher at Crittenden Middle School and the facilitator of the CMS Panther Pen blog. I grew up in the Bay Area and I love it here. I went to school in Santa Clara, and studied literature and political science ...  (More)

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To My Daughters' Future Teachers

Uploaded: Aug 1, 2014
As I get ready to head back into the classroom this fall, my daughters are getting ready to start PreK and K. I find myself anxious, almost terrified really, of what is coming. If I could, this is the letter I would send with them on their first day.

To my daughters' future Teachers,

Hi there. I hope you had a great summer, and are feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and excited to start the school year. I hope all this with all my heart, because in just a few weeks my daughters will be meeting you for the first time, in their first formal education setting, and I want more than anything in the world for them to be as happy with you as they have been at home with us. Please don't misunderstand me, I really am excited for them, and I am excited to go back to work. But you see, my husband and I are teachers, too, and my family has spent the last two months playing and learning and relaxing and cuddling, and enjoying our sweet, sweet summer. School can be a wonderful, magical place. I loved it so much that I never wanted to leave, hence the teaching. And I want that for my precocious, smiling, thoughtful, sweet, inquisitive girls, too.

I wish that I could tell you about the Hot Wheels tracks that have changed our living room into noisy races, or about how the tent became a spaceship to the moon. I'd love to be able to show you how Sherry learned to swim underwater, and Bailey took her first lessons without Mommy in the pool. I want to introduce you to Lily Ana and Jenny, the dollies who became like third and fourth children in our family. You've got to see the projects they did with Daddy in the garage, and watch as they help to hit nails and drive screws with confidence. I wish I could explain to you all the little glittering moments that made us giggle as we grow up together as a family, so that you will love them like I do. Because I really am scared. Terrified, even. I'm worried that with the chaos of a classroom you'll miss the trillion tiny things that make my girls the absolute center of my existence.

This will be the first time that the girls will not be together every day. It will be the first time they have to operate within a true structure, as opposed to the cozy, gentle home daycare where they have spent the last two years holding hands while napping, kissing each other's booboos when they fell, encouraging each other's "work", and confidently reassuring one another that Mommy or Daddy will be there soon to pick them up. I want to know that you will reassure them when they're scared about being without their best friend. I need to know that when Sherry is frustrated because she drew her "b" backward again, you will know how to calm her perfectionism; that when she is shy and can't find her words, you will help her find a friend; that when she is excited about learning you will light the fires behind her eyes and help me show her the world. I need to know that you can help Bailey wrap up a baby doll in a blankie; that you will kiss her booboos when my little monkey climbs too high and falls; that you will guide her to friends and laughter. I need you to love them, in all their imperfect, beautiful variations. I want them to fall in love with you, and you with them, even though it will break my heart when they love another woman.

I hope your summer left you ready to tackle this school year with enthusiasm, innovation, and love. I'm ready, but I'm scared. I need you to bring your A game. And I promise, that as both a Mommy to my daughters, and a teacher of your children, I will bring mine.

With hope, a teacher-mommy

Comments

Posted by Ellen Wheeler, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Aug 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm

This is a beautiful posting. It brought back great memories.


Posted by Ms. Jenson, a resident of Rex Manor,
on Aug 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Hi Community!

I just received a lovely email (see below, name omitted because, well, it's not mine to give) from a fellow teacher in the community. In it, the fellow Teacher-Mommy expresses concern about the "booboo kissing" I bring up, and all of the blood-born pathogen training educator undergo. I do adhere to the training I have undergone, and of course expect all teachers do the same. I also hope that if my little three year old miss monkey falls and scrapes her knees, some comfort isn't out of the question.

Cheers, Ms. J

****************************

Hello Teacher-Mommy Jenson,

As a teacher and a mother with grown children and very precious grandchildren, I appreciate very much the point of view you expressed in your open letter to your daughters' future teachers (Web Link). I enjoyed reading of the enthusiasm with which you approach the coming school year, and how important it is to you as a parent that your daughters' teachers are also returning joyfully, ready to understand and love your young girls.

I experienced the same concerns when I adopted my (then 5 and 8 year-old) daughters, and brought them to my elementary school in southern California. I was so pleased with the wonderful involvement and concern each of their teachers showed during our early years together. When we moved to Oregon five years later, they no longer attended a school in the district where I had taught for many years, or even a district in which I was currently teaching. My experience changed in some ways, though for the most part my girls continued to have excellent teachers. One of these amazing teachers, however, persisted in marking that my older daughter, who worked her butt off to get an A to A- average in middle school, was "working to her potential" when she was getting "C"s in biology. This drove me crazy, but also alerted me to a problem my old teacher-friends did not identify: she had ADD, the kind without hyperactivity. Once she started on medication, she started getting straight A's in biology. I then remarked to the teacher that my daughter was now working to her potential!

I hope you find a similar line-up of excellent teachers. I know how much their love, care, expertise and creativity mattered to me as a parent. Again, I have to say I liked so much of what you wrote. I try to communicate my love of teaching and love of my school and my students when I have parents come in for Back to School Night. The only statement that I had an automatic "eewwww" response to, was asking the teacher to kiss their booboos. Since you are a language arts teacher, I am going to assume that you mean this metaphorically!

I've been a teacher so long that I remember when the instructions for care of minor scrapes changed from the teacher cleaning and dressing the wound to pretty much having the kids clean and bandage their own, because of concerns about blood-borne pathogens. Since I was teaching general education 2nd and 3rd grade in those days, I would closely monitor, and assist as needed, disregarding the guidelines. (We did have gloves available, but only one pair!) Even now, as I teach special day class 7th and 8th grade at Blach School, I sometimes need to assist with bandaging for minor injuries. However, I must confess I have never literally kissed their booboos. I think my students have been and are satisfied with a little hug or pat on the back.

Wishing you a great start to your school year!


Posted by Susan, a resident of Castro City,
on Aug 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I have adult men on my crews who occasionally get a boo-boo and need a bandage. On dozens of occasions I have helped put on the dressing, kissed my finger, touched the outside of the dressing and said "there, it's all better now" and have always been rewarded with a smile and a thanks. If that can work on a fifty-something guy, think of all the good it can do for a five-year-old!


Posted by Diane, a resident of Monta Loma,
on Aug 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

I work with this amazing teacher and person. Good insight on how every mommy feels on that first day of school . Sure you eased all out there that are feeling the same stress. Thank you Brandy!


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