Parents, Stop Freaking Out, Teachers Aren't Perfect Either

This year, there will be no more school bells. There will be no more pencils to sharpen or papers to pass out. There will be no end of the year awards assemblies or field trips. There will be no ordering of caps, gowns and invitations. There will be no practicing for end-of-year programs or graduations. There will be no more morning hugs, high-fives or secret handshakes. There will be no more daily snuggles and encouraging them to work the problem just one more time. There will be no more chalk dust on my slacks and in my hair. There will be no more laughter, giggles, races, hide-and-seek or games of football on the playground. 

There Will Be Resilience

There will, however, be resilience. There will be parents reading to their children and practicing Math. There will be teachers getting to spend time with their own kids. There will be arts and crafts, cooking and making it up as you go. There will be life lessons and stories not found in textbooks. There will be rest and resetting. There will be reuniting. And when we do reunite, the hugs, high fives and secret handshakes will return.

As parents transition to becoming stay-at-home teachers, we need you to know something—there is no such thing as a perfect teacher. There are millions of smart, passionate, frugal, tired teachers all across this nation. And not one of us is perfect.

On any given school day, we don't perfectly execute a lesson plan. We rush to grade papers and meet deadlines. Sometimes we forget to have tact and speak at you instead of with you. We can often offend parents instead of helping them. And sometimes we are just too busy to give the amount of attention to the student in our class who probably needs us the most. 

There's not enough time in the day, week, or school year to get everything done that is on our list. We often feel like we're letting our students down because we can't possibly meet all of their needs between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. We always feel like there's not enough of us to give to our own family. And we never, ever feel like we have it all together. 

In other words, we probably feel like the millions of parents and guardians that we serve. We are not perfect, and whatever school ends up looking like for your child the rest of this year, we don't expect you to be perfect either. 

You Can Teach Them Things We Can't

We do want you to try your best to enjoy this new adventure. You can teach your child things that we can't. You can tell them family stories that they've never heard before. You can teach them the meaning behind their name, help them understand their family history and practice favorite family recipes. 

After all, our students aren't really ours; they're yours. When all of this is over and we reunite again, hopefully, we will do so with a little bit more understanding and patience from the other one's perspective. We'll pass one another in the hall with knowing looks and a wink that says 'I get it now'.

Angela Graham is a teacher serving at a public charter school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is proud to teach the descendants of Black Wall Street. She has two children and a beautiful blended family.

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