An Apology To Their First Teacher
Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
I haven’t met you yet - but I already feel a little guilty that you’ll be the one tasked with the responsibility of caring for my kids this coming year. Not because they aren’t amazing kids or sweet kids or hilarious kids - but because they are.
I wanted to take a moment to apologize for the very, very detailed IEP that comes with one of the twins. It’s long and I know you’ll have more than just hers on your plate. I never used my teaching degree, but I remember the statistics for the amount of 504s and IEPs most teachers can expect to be handed per every classroom and my heart sinks a little knowing that hers will be added to your growing stack and to-do list.
“You know her teacher will just ignore the IEP, right?” - skeptical friends/family.
The thing is - I know you won’t. Because I know teachers who do the extra for kids who need it without IEPs legally requiring them to - and who do it happily.
There is no shortage of awareness from this household about what your job entails.
There is no delusion that you get to “clock out” for the weekends and when you are at home in the evenings. I know that you’ll spend your nights planning for the next day and that your weekends will be full of to-do lists to make sure another week with all of your little ones goes smoothly. I know that you also most likely have a family of your own to worry about, as much as I worry about mine.
SO I wanted to say “I am so sorry for being that mom,” ahead of time.
The mom who might cry when she drops her kids off if they cry.
The mom who is going to email you after I leave and ask how long it took them to stop crying. Spoiler; the first week or two me “leaving” is going to be me driving down the road and hanging out in my parked car in case all of those safeguards in her IEP aren’t enough for her ASD and her anxiety to handle the school setting at first. She won’t know that - but I won’t be far at first.
The mom who has lots and lots of questions about how the IEP will be implemented in your classroom once it isn’t just a hypothetical to me and I’ve seen it.
The mom who asks for parent meetings more than you’ll think we need them just because I can’t send a Go-Pro attached to the twins and I want to make sure they are okay.
The mom whos email address will make you think, “Oh Lawd - what now.”
I’m so, so sorry.
But I'm not so sorry about it that I won't do it - because in the last five years advocating for the twins and staying on top of things is what we've had to do too many times to let a LOT of guilt about it change it. I might feel queasy every time I ask you for an update - but I'm still gonna ask.
If it makes it any better - I also plan on being the mom who buys extra school supplies for your classroom when you send home a list of things you need. I’ve got extras in a bag for you right now.
The mom who sends Box Tops.
The mom who takes those class fundraisers way, way too seriously. Why yes I COULD use 20 rolls of Christmas paper from my tiny humans and yes I will ask all of their friends and family to buy some as well.
The mom who sends new books and art supplies randomly because on my days away from them while they are with you the three of you will not be far from my thoughts - especially at Michael’s and Barnes & Noble.
The mom who volunteers for story time and offers to chaperone trips.
The mom who asks you, “Do you need anything?” after every conversation about the things my twins need from you - because I know our list will always be longer.
The mom who advocates for her kid but also advocates for you.
The mom who prays for you because she’s the mom who is more than a little aware that you walk into the classroom every day in 2019 knowing it could be the day that you have to hide my children in a closet or take a bullet for them.
I know any of my elementary teacher friends would stand between a bullet and their kids and I will spend the next 15+ years of my life praying for their teachers and their safety... starting with you. So if you say you need scented markers in pastel colors for an art project, consider it done. Because being a teacher in today’s world means knowing any classroom can be unsafe - but doing your best to make kids who aren’t yours feel safe every day anyhow.
Especially kids like mine - who need the extra effort by you, your assistant, and their team to feel safe every day.
I will spend the school year apologizing for all of the extra things my kids need while you spend the school year doing those things without complaining because that’s the kind of person you are. I don’t have to meet you to know that with almost 100% certainty - because my teacher friends are the kindest, most capable and gracious people I know.
I will also spend the school year supporting you in whatever way you need from me and probably in annoying ways you didn’t know you need from me - just get ready for a large collection of scented hand sanitizer and thank you notes.
To be safe and manage expectations; I’ll also go ahead and apologize ahead of time for the trail of actual glitter my children sometimes leave behind them.
I can’t wait to meet you officially,
-An equally terrified, apologetic, appreciative and excited mama