Dear First Grade Teachers,
The summer is drawing to an all-too-soon close and soon I’ll be handing my twins, my Super Kids, my babies, over to two of you.
I’m thrilled for them to learn and make friends, but like every parent my kids are a piece of my heart that will be in your hands for the rest of the year and it can be a little scary some times to put that much trust in someone we have never met.
Whichever twin you have, there are some things I want you to know.
I know you have plans for the year. Many of them are probably time tested effective plans. Some of them are probably new ideas you’re excited to try. My kids are excited to see what you have in store for them.
I know you also have hopes for the year. For your new first grade class.
I have hopes too.
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I hope whichever twin you get, you will encourage curiosity.
I hope you will answer questions – and oh boy do I promise they have a ton.
I hope you encourage exploration, not just worksheets.
I hope you encourage understanding, not just correct answers.
I hope you encourage collaboration and conversation, not just compliance.
We need our newest generation to be thinkers and questioners and inventors. We need them to be inquisitive problem solvers and helpful collaborators. We need a generation of minds that can think and work with others.
I hope you’ll encourage them to practice these skills.
I hope whichever twin you get, you will teach them that they can do anything.
I heard a lot of stereotypes being repeated to me at home during kindergarten. Thoughts on girls and math skills. Thoughts on boys and nail polish. Thoughts on girl and boy “colors.” Thoughts on girl and boy “jobs.”
In our house, although we understand there are gender differences, we believe that boys and girls can BOTH do anything as long as it isn’t hurting anyone.
The colors they choose to wear.
The jobs they choose to have.
The areas where they soar.
Please squash any ignorant or hateful comments that are shared to the contrary. I hope you won’t let my child, or any child, be limited or defined by their gender.
I hope whichever twin you get, you will foster their inner bookworm.
One of my kids is reading well above grade level and the other one only some words, but they both love books. I hope you will meet them where they are and not worry or stress.
We have read aloud to them every single day of their lives and filled our home with books of all shapes and sizes. They love books, but sometimes I worry that the stress and seriousness of reading achievement and sight word quizzes will suck this fondness away.
I hope you will find books that will push them and also deepen their fondness for reading. I hope you will read aloud awesome books and help them find new ones to love.
I hope they walk away from first grade as in love with books as they are now and more prepared to tackle them on their own.
I hope whichever twin you get, you will love their differences.
My kids, like all kids, have quirks. They have good days and bad days. They have areas where they excel and areas where they falter. They have annoying qualities and delightful ones.
We all do.
I promise you that you if you love them, if you see their good, if you embrace and encourage their strengths they will rise to any occasion.
Like all young kids, my twins love their teachers. Their swimming coaches and their soccer coaches. Their Sunday School teacher and yes, their Kindergarten teacher. All they really want is for you to love them and teach them.
I hope you can see that love and good and respond with kindness.
I hope whichever twin you get, you know we all learn differently.
I was a kid that absolutely excelled in the follow the rules, sit still, be quiet, learn what we ask environment.
I also know, like you, that these kids are rare. Most kids learn in other ways.
They need to talk or move or touch to learn. I have these kids.
I hope you can find ways to accommodate the different learning styles in your class not try to crush them into one ideal mold.
I hope you’ll approach all concepts from different ways.
I hope you will trust them to move and talk and touch without feeling like you have lost control.
I hope you know that they will all learn better if you support these differences in your teaching.
I hope whichever twin you get, you know that no kid is bad.
I was a teacher for many years and I’ve been parenting my twins for over 6 years now, so believe me when I say I know how challenging kids can be. I even know how incredibly exhausting a group of them can be, especially when you have a long list of things you are expected to teach them.
I also know, that they aren’t bad if they aren’t behaving perfectly.
They aren’t a bad kid just because they need to discuss something to understand it.
They aren’t a bad kid if they need to move around instead of sit criss-cross apple sauce for hours.
They aren’t a bad kid because they like to feel something to understand it.
They aren’t a bad kid even when they are bothering other kids or throwing things or being sassy.
Young kids need you to see difficult behavior and help them by changing their environment or changing your teaching or addressing deeper concerns, not just punishing them again and again.
How you see my kid, all children, matters. It affects who they become.
On their bad days and with any challenging behaviors, I hope that you will work to understand them and help.
I hope whichever twin you get, you will assign them meaningful work.
I hope when you give them an assignment you take care and thought to make it meaningful. I hope it does more than ask them to regurgitate information.
I hope no matter what their skill level is, you will find work to challenge and encourage them.
I hope you think about why the information is important and ask how you can have them practice it in a way that means something to them.
And, dare I say, I hope you can even make it fun.
And while we’re discussing work, there is a great homework debate raging across the country right now.
While I firmly believe that at least for my children it is a waste of precious time, I accept that there are other opinions. I do ask, however, if you must assign them homework that it be worthwhile. Repetitive worksheets to fill a mandatory homework requirement will not help my child learn.
I hope whatever work you assign will only deepen their curiosity and love of learning, as well as their understanding of whatever topic they are tackling.
I hope whichever twin you get, you know I will have your back.
I know teaching can seem like a lonely profession. I know parents can sometimes feel like the bane of your existence. And I know, I really know, how hard you work.
I hope you know that despite whatever differing opinions we might have, that I have your back.
I want to work with you to make their experience the best it can be. More than anything I want them to learn and I know teachers are the experts at making this happen.
My husband and I have great respect for teachers. We were both raised by one and witnessed first hand how hard they work and how much they care.
We will never bad mouth you to our children no matter how much we disagree.
We will always speak to you first when we have concerns.
We will always listen to and consider your opinions.
We also believe that parents are an important factor in a child’s education. We believe we know our twins well. We want to be involved in meaningful and helpful ways. I hope you will take us up on that offer.
I hope whichever twin you get, you have the best year yet.
I know I’m biased, but my kids are pretty awesome. They are friendly. They are curious. They are creative. They are energetic. They are sweet. They are funny.
They are so excited to be big and six and in first grade this year. And they are SO excited to meet you!
I hope you’re excited to meet them.
PS. If anyone wants to join the Super Kids movement to help every child be more appreciated and understood visit here.