1. Saying Yes to my child really does make a difference.

Just today my kindergartner  came home so excited. Yesterday he forgot his lunchbox at school, so he had to bring the old spare today with his lunch. When he got to school, he wanted to move all of his lunch things over to his real lunchbox… and his teacher helped him do it, She has 16 other 5-6 year olds to care for and- let’s not forget- educate, but taking two minutes to help him with his lunchbox dilemma made a big difference to him.

Now I’m sorry for all of those little missed “yes” opportunities I’ve lost with my students over the years. 


2. The little things we say do matter!

My fourth grader had a ridiculously difficult third grade experience. This year, in fourth grade he has had an AMAZING teacher. After watching him doodle and work on his craft as a writer, she told him “I sure hope you invite me to your first comic book signing when you become famous.” For my 9 year old, this comment has been so crucial to building him up… this comment made months ago, comes up time and time again.

I’m thankful for all of the “reading stars” who I “am so glad are in my class”… 


3. The little things we do matter too!

My kindergartner has asthma. Not just the kind that requires an inhaler after he’s been running around, but the kind that can get scary and require hospital visits and stays. A few weeks ago it was his turn to be Star of the Week! This chance only comes around once in a kindergarten lifetime, so I let out a sad sigh when the Monday of his turn I received a call from his school nurse. He spent the rest of the week home, plagued by asthma attacks, fevers, and ear infections. His teacher e-mailed daily to check in on him. When he had missed a few days, she anticipated his sadness about missing all the special jobs that come with star of the week, so she e-mailed to reschedule his week. This sick kid peeled his whiny hiney off the couch to jump up and down with joy!

I wonder what little things I can do to make my students jump for joy!

4.School-home communication and involvement means a lot to parents!

I have sent e-mails, made phone calls, and invited parents into my classroom on a regular basis throughout my teaching career. I enjoyed getting to know them and showing off all we had been doing and learning at school.

I don’t think I realized just how much of a difference it makes as a parent to get that e-mail with a silly story from the day, to be mystery reader for the class, or to sit in the audience of a Readers’ theater performance in my child’s classroom. Tomorrow, in fact, I have the opportunity (being on maternity leave) to go do a gallery walk of my fourth grade class’ Hole in One projects, which were the culmination of their geometry unit (angles and all!).

I will seek opportunities to invite parents, not because my administration says so, but because it makes a difference. 

5. Saying thank you to the teacher does matter.

This one I learned as a teacher, and embrace as a mom. I look for opportunities to regularly thank my childrens’ teachers. After all, they love my children, care for them, and TEACH them!  When my children are learning, feeling great about themselves, and being coached through the social landscape by a teacher who appreciates them, I am so thankful… and saying thank you makes a difference. As a teacher, receiving these words of appreciation make all the difference!

I will always show my appreciation for my children’s teachers.

6. Parents are doing the best they can. 

Let’s be real.. the above list is just the beginning of what I’ve learned, but I’m sitting here typing with one hand as I hold my newborn and listen to my boys do their nightly reading.  My son went to school this morning with his hair sticking straight up in the back. My other son had his shirt on backwards (I noticed as he dashed off the bus). Sometimes they “forget” to brush their teeth in the morning. Sometimes we forget their mittens and hats on a cold day… and sometimes we even*gasp* forget to do/ run out of time for homework. Is it because school and education is not important to me? No. It’s because being a mom is about more than all these things. In this life I love these little beings with all that I am. Sometimes that means snuggling up in my recliner chair with my 5 year old as he falls asleep early in my lap. Sometimes I make homemade pancakes and don’t check that my fourth grader remembered his trumpet on B and D3 days (what is with these complicated schedules anyway??? ). So enough with the judgmental teacher talk I sometimes hear…

I will give parents a break.