Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

I just wanted to let you know that ‘sweaty dishevelled mess’ is not the look I’m aiming for in a morning. It’s just that to get my two children to where they need to get to in a morning involves a lot of effort and doesn’t leave much time for brushing hair. I realise that you don’t see me trying to discourage them from picking up ten thousand bits of leaves/going back for something really ‘pretty’ they saw in the middle of the road/swinging from everything that they can swing from on the way but I do. I realise that you don’t see the balancing act I perform every morning between the both of them to ensure they’ve both had exactly the same from me, but I do. You don’t see the negotiating two sensory challenged children into a uniform, but I do. So if you could refrain from looking me up and down when I come in, that would be lovely.

I also wanted to let you know that we didn’t ‘forget’ to colour the homework in, I purposefully didn’t to it with her. Which I explained in the home/school book but as it was still in the bottom of her bag when I collected her, I’m guessing you didn’t read. As my daughter can’t read yet, the ‘don’t forget to colour in’ comment is not very helpful, who is it you were reminding?

I’m sorry that you felt the need to have a conversation with the learning support assistant about me and my daughter when we were waiting in the corridor. For the record, I’m not ‘over anxious’, she’s not ‘fine’ and we will continue to need support throughout the school year. When my daughter smiles at you, she’s not smiling at you as a greeting or because she’s happy, she’s smiling at you because she’s learnt this is a good way to make adults leave her alone, she’s smiling at you because she hasn’t understood what you’ve asked her to do and she’s afraid to ask again, she’s smiling at you because she’s learnt that that’s a way to not have to reply to you.

I need you to know that I will continue bringing my child into the classroom for as long as she needs me to. I know this goes against your ‘children should be independent by now’ theory and that you don’t want me there every morning but I will be. For me, the fact that my child is refusing to let go of my hand is a hugely positive thing and so I will continue to hold it.

I know that as a primary teacher you work really hard and that you are shattered and that it’s only the third week back but you’re already looking forward to the holiday. I understand this because I’m a primary teacher myself. But we have one chance to get this right for my daughter and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that school goes the way it should. Because as a family, we’re struggling. The violence and aggression that surrounds our home would no doubt shock you if you saw it. But even if you don’t see it, you need to try to understand it. We need you to understand that she’s not acting out but she’s terrified and she’s bringing all that terrified home.

So I’ll see you tomorrow and the day after and the day after. And every day until my child walks into your classroom with the smile I know is real.

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