It's that time of the year again, isn't it? That stale, suffocating season where kids are restless and nature seems relentless. You are near launching the full attack of curriculum to complete, standardized tests to administer, conferences to schedule, end of the year events to plan, paperwork to push through, as you continue to face the relentless day-to-day challenge of capturing your students' attention within the confines of your overcrowded classroom.
The pressure is on.
I know how much you love your job, and the reward is quite fulfilling as you witness the climax to the year's success stories emerge. But I also know that around this time of year you grow tired. Long days are ahead of you, surrounded by squirming kids buzzing with a high-pitched fever, seeking to break free from the captive halls of compliance toward the outstretched arms of fresh air and budding spring.
But you have a job to do. And it's this time of year when pressure is high to take your students through to the end, with the desperate hope of passing them into the next grade. You have stacks of IEPs in which you have worked tirelessly to advocate, implement and evaluate, while assisting many other kids with ESL, working through language limitations in learning. Then there are the children who fly under the radar of such labels, only to present similar issues and difficulties you must assess and continue to individualize with your own makeshift learning course.
"I can only imagine how hard it is for you. ... What you manage on a day-to-day basis is no easy feat."
Perhaps other students display a constant struggle to stay focused on the task at hand, leaving you weary and wrung out as their behavior disrupts the class and distracts their peers. You may have so many students behind that you possibly feel despair over how to bring them through the doors of success. You have tried and tried, and yet there are some who may not make it through.
You might have parents who don't communicate, parents who complain, and parents who seem un-invested in their children's education. You possibly pull your hair out, wondering why they don't care, when your concern keeps you up at night worrying. You may feel a bit defeated at this point, contending that there is only so much you can do in the classroom, as the rest must come from home.
Your days are probably spent navigating the throes of keeping restless kids' voices down and hands to themselves, while attempting to implement new, creative ideas to keep them engaged in learning. If you are a middle school or high school teacher, your challenges rise to the resistance of attitudes, peer pressure, and fierce independence with no accountability or respect.
I can only imagine how hard it is for you.
You may not see that the end is near over the mountains of work left to do...
But it is.
And I want to tell you that I am aware of what you do, and I am grateful for it all. What you manage on a day-to-day basis is no easy feat. Your role in my children's lives has been profoundly important to their growth and education. You have fueled their desire to learn and inspired them to do their best. My children are better people for knowing you.
Because of what you work tirelessly to do, there are children thriving and learning and developing their minds and perspectives about this world we live in. You are forming concepts and consciousness, while nurturing intelligence and awareness in our youth. Your influence is monumental. Your place in my children's lives is powerful. You are raising up generations that will inevitably contribute to our society's future.
"You make a difference in the life of each child that comes into your classroom."
Don't lose sight of that truth, as you muscle through these hard days and feel the weight of exhaustion and depletion and possibly defeat. Your work is imperative to the health of our children. Your words and actions have a heavy influence on the lives of many.
Remember that, always.
And as you trek through this tough terrain, please know that you are appreciated by parents who entrust you with their children. And I personally will do my best to send my kids to you prepared to ride this wave 'til summer.
You make a difference in the life of each child that comes into your classroom.
That is a high calling, and one of the greatest, most honorable jobs in the world.
Thank you, teacher. Thank you for all you do.
With deep respect, I offer you all my support.