I wrote the letter below to a teacher. It hasn’t officially made it to paper. I prayed before writing it and will continue to pray before it is delivered… if it is delivered. I’m trying to make my point, without anger or judgment. Please note that I never talk badly about a teacher in front of my boys. And, to them, I always side with the teacher. Feedback? Teacher friends, what are your thoughts?
Here is the letter…
Dear XX. XXXXXX,
I want to apologize again for XXXX disrupting your class when he left early today. While XXXX had a different view of the events, I clarified that if you felt he was being disruptive, that was all that mattered.
When you spoke with me on the phone, you seemed to question the fact that I was checking XXXX out early. Please know that XXXX has not missed one single day of school since Kindergarten and I try my best not to check him out early. If I know that I will be checking him out, I try to give all teachers advanced notice so preparations can be made. Today was a little different. After testing (FCAT) for two weeks, my boys have been stressed. I’m sure you have been, too. I got word this morning that my husband would be able to call this afternoon. He’s been deployed for two months and the boys haven’t had a chance to talk to him. I thought it would be a nice treat for them to talk to their dad, so I checked them out early. Today being Friday after FCAT, I thought they wouldn’t miss too much.
My husband called shortly after we left the school. The ten minutes that XXXX spent talking to his dad, he was mostly being counseled about not being disruptive in class or disrespectful to his teacher. I’m sure it was a fun conversation for both of them. But, we don’t tolerate such behavior knowingly.
I want you to know that I sincerely think the world of teachers. It is a profession that I could never do well. I realize that XXXX is a thorn in your side and that you don’t like him very much. That point is made abundantly clear to me every time I speak to you. There is always a look of distaste in your eye and a bitter tone in your voice when we speak. I’m sorry. I totally understand that he is not an “easy” child. I get it. I just wish that you would spend a little less time trying to get your point across because again, I got it. Sadly, I’m sure he does, too.
I know that this is a very stressful time to be a teacher… not only the past two weeks, but in general. Due to local, State, and Federal laws you have little leeway in your own classroom. The new standards make it hard to teach children that struggle academically because, from what I understand, you are punished for unsatisfactory FCAT scores. This is truly ridiculous and I commend you for being a good teacher. Again, I couldn’t do it.
I know that XXXX struggles academically and that he’s not the best behaved child, but sometimes teachers have no idea what a child is facing outside of school. Maybe… just maybe, if he felt like less of a failure academically and like less of a pain socially, he might surprise you. In my experience, we all rise to our expectations. An exceptional teacher is able to teach an unruly child while never letting on her true feelings about him. An exceptional teacher is able to make a child that is struggling feel loved. An exceptional teacher is able to encourage and motivate a child to perform far beyond what others thought possible.
Maybe XXXX will be a totally average student and turn in to an average adult. Maybe someone will see that special spark in him, believe in him, and help him to believe in himself. I have no idea what he will become. I do know that right now he feels poorly about himself in school and that makes me sad.
With Much Respect,
“The hearts of wise people guide their mouths. Their words make people want to learn more. Pleasant works are like honey. They are sweet to the spirit and bring healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:23-24