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Teacher Letters

Monday afternoon if you had driven slowly through my neighborhood, looking carefully at all the houses, you would have seen several hundred pairs of eyes peeking out at you from behind curtains. Should you turn onto a certain street, you’d hear several collected inhales from behind closed doors – followed by a sharp exhale when people saw it was “just you”.

Were all the mothers in my area hoping for the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Prize Patrol van? No way, man – we were looking for something much more important.

Our school teacher’s letter.

Our elementary school sends out letters from teachers addressing their new students directly; it’s the school’s way of letting the kids know which teacher they’re getting for the coming year. And the letters always go out riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight before school starts, so the parents spend the whole summer speculating, discussing, weighing up each teacher’s pros and cons, and sending up fervent prayers to the Almighty. By the time the August letters come out we’re worn down from wondering and fretting. Like there’s anything we can do.

By luck of the draw, my street is pretty much the last one on my postman’s route, and so the afternoon was agonizing as friend after friend called me with her results. “I got so-and-so! I’m so happy – I LOVE her!” “I got the new teacher – how am I supposed to figure THAT out?” I think I walked out and checked my mail over a dozen times – I kid you not – and had gotten to that “I will not look out the front window until I count to at least 30” point by around 4 p.m.

And totally cheating and looking out the window at count 29, of course.

So when I turned my back for ONE SECOND, of course, my mom glanced out and said, “He’s here! He’s here!” I’d like to say I did not run her over in my haste to get the door open.

But I would be lying.

At our elementary school, if you’ve had a kid in kindergarten there, the chances are high that any subsequent sibling will have that same teacher. And we loved Maddie’s kindergarten teacher, but we didn’t want to assume anything so I’d been waiting with baited breath. For the past two years, Cora’s seen this teacher and said, “That’s my kindergarten teacher soon!” Cora came with me when I volunteered twice a week in the classroom, and is intimately familiar with this teacher. So we were very much hoping to get her again.

I chickened out, and asked Cora to read the teacher’s signature. When Cora saw who it was she began screaming as if she had, indeed, won the lottery. “I GOT HER! I GOT HER! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! YES! YES! YES!”

For Maddie, I’m happy to say that she’s been assigned to an absolutely wonderful teacher, so I am quite relieved.

And for both girls, there’s one good friend in the same class. Which is almost as important as getting a good teacher.

So I am finally getting ready for fall; I am finally starting to let go of the summer. We’ve got backpacks and lunch bags and sneakers, and I can see the shape of their days: I can see their teachers, and who they’ll sit next to during free time, and I know they are both in great hands.

I can finally breathe, and start to move forward.


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