Friday, August 31, 2012

Grade 1 and Grade 3

A Vocabulary List for New Canadians:

1. holiday: (noun) vacation. Ex: "We're going on holiday."
2. runners: (noun, plural) athletic shoes. Ex: "The boys bought new runners for school."
3. expiry: (adjective) expiration. Ex: "What is the expiry date on your credit card."
4. Catholic Board: (noun, proper) A school board that runs the Catholic schools which are FREE just like the public schools. The Catholic schools use the same curriculum as the public schools, but they also integrate faith in God and service into all that they do.  Ex: "My sons will be attending a Catholic school this fall which is run by the Catholic Board."
5. Grade One and Grade Three: (nouns) The reversal of 1st grade and 3rd grade, respectively. Ex: My sons will be entering Grade One and Grade Three next week after our abominably long summer.

Thank God. I pray each morning that I will not kill them before then.

Dear The Soon-To-Be Teachers of My Sons :

You're likely working off the excess weight you may have acquired during the summer: creating name tags, putting up tacky boarders, fighting with the copy machines, kissing up to the Principal, comparing tans and pictures with your colleagues, hugging the ones you missed, and hiding from the ones you didn't.

Maybe you're even looking at all those empty seats in your classroom and enjoying the quiet and fresh air that still exists before the steamy invasion of stinky and small humans. I know. I was a teacher for the past 14 years, and I know what it's like to teach other people's children. I know how mind-numbingly difficult it can be. I know that you'll sometimes be sad and crabby in the mornings and sometimes at your wit's end resisting the urges to slap someone and cry. I know that you likely do not appreciate every person you work with and that you have to jump through so many policies and procedures that you sometimes lose sight of why you became a teacher. I know that your smiles will often be forced.

Well this year, you will be spending the year with the two most important young people in my life. These two little humans are the investment of my life. For the past eight and a half years they have consumed almost all of my mental, emotional and physical resources. And though they are a huge pain in the ass some much of the time, they are the receptacle of my investment and I am proud of them.

So I ask you this:

If my children are disrespectful in any way, to anyone, please discipline them.
If they are lazy, please notice and encourage them.
If they are messy, please show them a nicer way.
If they are sad, please hug them.
If they are arrogant, please humble them.
If they are snarky, please don't tolerate.
If they are brilliant, please praise them.
If they excel, please show them how to help others.

...and lastly, (the exact same thing I ask of them each morning): Be kind, be patient, and be polite. And remember, even though these students you are about to meet and spend the year with are not your children, they are someone's. And they are loved without conditions by many.

In return, I promise to pray for you also, each and every day: That you will spend more time wondering with them than memorizing facts, that you will find the uniqueness of each of them instead of finding faults, that you will open up new worlds and possibilities to them and they will want to return to the space you create. That you will teach them about God and Faith and Service with your actions more than your words. That you will bring out the best in them and help them feel safe enough to take important risks.

Thank you for being a teacher. Thank you for sharing in my investment. I trust you even before I know you.

After all, these two boys of mine, and all of their classmates, are the future. And even though at this moment they aspire to be professional hockey players and animal hunters, we all know that they will more than likely become teachers or farmers or dentists or lawyers or roofers. But let's all pray that whatever future they choose that they will above all be kind, be patient, and be polite. In Jesus' name.


  1. Hi *waves* Just stopping by from the IWSG . . . I'm a teacher and this brought tears to my eyes. I think I'll have to read this blog post to my co-workers:-)

    1. Thanks so much! Best wishes for a great school year!