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Go Ask Mom

Julia Sims: Dear Teacher

Posted May 14, 2018 9:00 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 3:23 p.m. EDT

Julia Sims with son Will

Dear Teacher,

I grew up in a family of educators, so I’ve always had a deep appreciation for the profession.

However, that respect grew immensely once my son started elementary school.

Here’s why:

I’ve seen my sports-obsessed little boy discover his artistic talent and an interest in music because of your encouragement.

I’ve watched my son’s confidence grow under your guidance.

I’ve been amazed how your love of literature has turned my boy into an avid book reader.

I’ve saved all the encouraging little Post-it notes you put in my son’s notebook when you sensed his frustration.

I’ve seen your eyes well up with tears because you’re worried about the student who didn’t show up for school. That student is part of the growing “invisible homeless” population and you’re concerned about his well-being.

Thank you, Teacher

I’ve been there when you calmly handled a student’s outburst all the while keeping control of an overcrowded classroom of students.

I’ve listened while you told me about some tough boys who became frightened little kids during those active shooter drills. You tell me to hell with procedure, you’d protect those kids with your last dying breath. I believe it.

I’ve seen the vacuum cleaner you brought from home and have witnessed you vacuuming your classroom. You do this because you know we are a product of our environment and students need a clean and safe place to learn. You also do this because the district was forced to cut costs which includes custodial services.

I’ve heard your pleas for donations because some of the iPads don’t work and there just aren’t enough of them (despite the fact we live in a tech-driven world).

I know you got to school at 4 a.m. to set up for the annual field day and then worked your regular work day. While most of us would be paid overtime or get comp time, you didn’t earn an extra penny.

I belong to the pool where you are a lifeguard every summer. Apparently even having your master's degree doesn’t preclude you from needing a second job to make ends meet.

I sat in the classroom as you patiently and passionately led an evening class for parents on the ins and outs of “new” math ... and you did it on your own time.

I remember growing up and our dining room table was buried under lesson plans while my mom sat at the kitchen table grading papers late into the night. I bet your house looks like that too.

You’ve taught my son to ignore the naysayers, to believe in himself and forge his own path. I hope you do the same. You are worth it.

And this Wednesday, we’ll be cheering you on - and we’re hoping the right people are paying attention.

Thank you,

One very grateful parent

Julia Sims is the mom of one and a former WRAL reporter. She writes regularly for Go Ask Mom.