Dear parents of the new Kindergarten Class,
You did it! You made it through the first week of your child being a real live school kid! Congratulations! I know for some of you, this has been the most difficult week of your life (or darn close to it.) For those of us who work closely with your child, this week has been a challenge of learning new names, and getting to know these awesome kids who will be the graduating class of 2028! (Crazy, right?)
I am not your child's classroom teacher, but I am one of his or her educators. My title is Paraprofessional. You can think of us as "accessory players" or "sidekicks" or "hero support". We do everything from check out library books to assisting in the lunch room to applying bandages and looking for head lice. We comfort them when they're afraid, and help them learn to solve problems and make good choices. We also help them learn to read, write, and do math. It's a busy job and I love it. It gives me an inside perspective of what's happening at school. There are a few things I'd like you to know (from the inside track) that you might not realize.
We KNOW that you have entrusted us with your greatest treasure!
Whether this particular child was one of many, long-awaited, or a total surprise, this is YOUR BABY! We are fully aware that this child is a piece of you and owns your heart. We completely understand that they are your reason for getting up in the morning, and the happy thought that allows you to sleep well at night. We respect that. We see the amazing-ness of this little person you get to love and raise and call your own. They are priceless and irreplaceable. We know this.
We truly want the best for every single child in our school.
We know that not all children have the same gifts and abilities, but we firmly and completely believe in each child's ability to learn and grow. We believe they are capable and strong. We expect good things from them. In fact, we insist on it. Kindness isn't on the MEAP test, but it's the most important thing we can teach. Teachers always have the best interest of the student at heart. It might mean the little guy misses out on a fun activity (if Jr. needs to learn a better choice) but the big picture goal is worth the short term unhappiness. We need to challenge every student to do their best, because...
We LOVE watching your child succeed.
There will come a moment when your child brings a book to me and says, "Mrs. Swager look at me! C-A-T spells CAT! I can READ!" This is the reason I come to school! This is my "winning lotto numbers" moment! When they ask to count the change in my pocket BECAUSE THEY CAN, it is a huge victory and cause for my personal celebration. My SuperBowl is when the little guy who struggled to hold a pencil properly can now write whole sentences! I love my job because your kid is awesome!
Probably the most important thing you should know is this:
We call them ours.
I gave birth to 7 kids, but I have so many more than that. Every child in that school is my responsibility while I'm there, and I take that very seriously. Trust that I will do everything in my power to help your child become the very best version of himself or herself. As I said, these children are your treasure, however, they are OUR treasure as well. We care for them and protect them and laugh with them and learn with them for most of their day. We find them dry clothes if they pee their pants. We hear about the new baby in the family, or grandpa dying. They share their lives with us. We can't help but love them! They are dear to our hearts, and have very quickly become part of our school family.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your child's life, and thank you for letting him or her be part of mine. Keep up the good work, and pace yourself. Only 12 3/4 more years to go until graduation!
Title I & General Ed Paraprofessional