Written by Shannon Olsen and illustrated but Sandie Sonke, this beautifully written letter written to students assuring them of teachers’ hopes and dreams and sharing the true love and passion teachers have to support and help their students learn and grow. As I read this book to my kindergarteners this year, I thought about how wonderful this book would have been all my years, and how thankful I am I get to read it every year from now on.
This book, this letter, these illustrations, open up so many opportunities for conversations about things that can be hard to talk about for some kids, or even teachers, especially at the start of the year when relationships are forming. But this is when starting these conversations is most critical. This book talks about how we want our students to try their best but we will be there to help. It brings up the importance of sharing experiences and cheering each other on. It shows how diversity and differences are just a part of life and are to be welcomed and celebrated. It opens the door to give kids, and teachers, a glimpse of what this year together can hold and allows for all to dream of what is to come.
While this book is amazing for teachers to share with kids, I couldn’t help but think that this book could also be titled “A letter from the teacher next door/down the hall/in upstairsland.”
You see, we are still teaching in unprecedented times, doing unimaginable amounts of work, preparing to turn everything on its head and teach remotely at a moments notice (as quick as a sneeze). In the last 18 months, we have come together in many ways, but in so many others, we have separated and walled ourselves off. That’s been the nature of what we’re living, literally quarantining and distancing from each other.
Let this book serve as a reminder to teachers and educators too…we’re in this together, through thick and thin. We are here for each other and it’s okay to ask for help.
So to my students, and my colleagues near and far I say:
“Some days will be a challenge. You may think, ‘I just can’t do it.’ Even when you cannot YET, I am here to help you through it.”