Dear Teacher

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at our school (which maybe should just be every week?!). Feel free to crib this and send it to a teacher you are grateful for.

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for your magical ability to quiet a group of squirming, yelping children with one little ditty. 

Thank you for multiplication and geology and Piggie and Gerald

Thank you for believing in even the most unusual or disruptive children. Thank you for secretly liking them the most. 

Thank you for the restorative justice circles, the ice packs, the healing words and looks.

Thank you for reminding our children to wear their masks nine thousand times a day. 

Thank you for school plays that last forever. 

Thank you for tolerating white board markers that never have enough ink, hours that never have enough minutes, and parents that never have enough empathy for what you deal with in a given day.  

Thank you for fighting for what you deserve in a country that talks a big game about your worth, but doesn’t back it up. 

Thank you for seeing the quiet kid, the hurt kid, the scared kid, the kid who no one else sees.

Thank you for teaching our kids about the Middle Passage and the Underground Railroad, Fannie Lou Hammer and Anne Braden and Marsha P. Johnson, Dolores Huerta and Ruby Bridges and Jayden Foytlin, all of these people and journeys that make up an accurate picture of the country they call home.

Thank you for creating a safe home in your classroom in the midst of a pandemic that took away so many homes--literally, metaphorically, spiritually. 

Thank you for having so many comforting rituals. 

Thank you for sometimes knowing it is a moment for improvisation. 

Thank you for prize boxes and dance parties and nature walks.   

Thank you for learning to teach online and then learning to teach children shaped and sometimes even traumatized by all that happened offline. 

Thank you for delivering food and chromebooks and offering encouragement to families that were so often anchors in the storm. 

Thank you for taking care of yourself, and especially each other, where and when you can. 

Thank you for connecting kids to lifesaving words in languages they understand: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Last Stop on Market Street and Firekeeper’s Daughter...

Thank you for crying and laughing with children, sometimes both in a single day. 

Thank you for remembering why you wanted to be a teacher in the first place.

Thank you for being the lifeblood of one of our last shared institutions, for waking up early and going to bed late thinking about how to nurture our collective future.

We are because you are. 

Love,

America*

*The quieter version that is not screaming at school board meetings, but really does exist and wants you to know we see you and appreciate you.