Friday, August 22, 2014

A Letter to My Daughter's Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Teacher,

First off, THANK YOU! You choose to teach and encourage little kindergartners, all day, every day. That is no small task and I am grateful for you. The Kleenex and play-dough we will be sending is a pitiful excuse for a thank-you gift for all you're about to do for us.

My daughter, Lana Jean, will be joining you this year. She's the tall girl, with the white-blonde hair and glasses. She's the one so excited she can hardly keep her skin on. She's the one with dirt on her cheek (already? c'mon kid!) and bruises on her shins. She's the one bouncing on her toes and likely singing a made-up song. Lana has grand dreams and aspirations for you and her class. Despite not knowing you, she thinks you are the nicest and smartest person ever. She's certain that with your patient instruction she'll learn everything from reading chapter books to building rocket ships and candy factories. She just knows you'll teach the whole class the best songs (complete with hand motions, oh how Lana loves her some hand motions) and new and exciting games. You've been everything this little girl has been looking forward to for the past year.

I tell you all this not just as a warning (although it kind of is. I imagine a room full of 25 kids this excited and strung out on high expectations might be cause for alarm), but also as part of a request. See, Lana's Daddy and I really, really like her. We enjoy all that sparkle and spunk. We get the biggest laughs out of her innovative schemes and ideas. We do our best self-reflection after a good talk with our girl, and even though we're now sharing her with you, we don't want to lose any of that. Please, Teacher, please, try to get Lana. Please get that she genuinely thinks everything is the BEST! Everyday is the best day and every friend is her best friend! Every new task needs greeted with outlandish excitement, because, it too, is THE BEST! Please understand all that curiosity and enthusiasm isn't poor behavior or acting out- it's simply her big personality and zest for everything.

This isn't to say Lana deserves special treatment or should be exempt from the rules. Not at all. There are no Special Snowflakes here. (And we, as her parents, aren't exempt either. We WILL be initialing reading forms, reviewing math facts, and signing up to bring treats to the class party.) Just please be gentle with our girl. She wants so very much to please you and be all you want her to be. She is a little girl who feels deeply, loves fiercely, wounds easily, but forgives fully. Your words and actions will become the ones she trusts and strives to emulate. It's your encouragement she'll thrive on. You have so much power; you have our Lana Jean. Please understand how huge this is. (And please also understand that I know that you probably already know all of this and deal with weepy and sentimental parents like me all the time. Thank you for not telling me to suck it up!)

Again, thank you. And get ready, Lana is over-the-moon excited to meet you!

Shelle Lenssen
(One of about 50 moms you'll meet this year who probably penned a remarkably similar letter.)


Kate GROSS said...

Can I borrow this? I need to send it to five college professors!

Crystal said...

Soooo sweet. Love it. Such a bittersweet thing, sending your child off to Kindergarten...well, any grade, I'm finding...but that's the first step of many. ((Hugs))

frestonfam said...

Great letter for her teacher. I hope you sent it to her teacher. All teachers need a letter like that from parents