A Letter To My Children: What It Means to Be a Teacher

Sarah Brown Weisling:

Dear Evan, Lauren, and Zachary,

Many (many) years ago, there was this little girl who spent her summer afternoons creating neighborhood schools for all of the children on her block. She mimicked what school looked like to her: rows of desks, questions and answers, praise and encouragement from the teacher, stickers and stars on the top of “assignments.” She imagined what it would be like to free an idea in someone else’s mind. She was crestfallen when the game of tag pulled her “students” away all too soon in the afternoon. She would wake up early and try to think about how to make learning fun.

What I want you to know is that there are things in this world that you will choose, and there are things in this world that will choose you. That little girl was meant to be a teacher. Although it would take her years to recognize it, that meant you would, by default, know the life of a teacher.

Sometimes I wonder how you feel about this. Sure, there are parts of it you love: hanging out in mom’s classroom, feeling like little celebrities when my students see you at the grocery store. But there’s also the Saturday afternoons I’ve spent grading papers when you’re outside playing, or the dry cereal in to-go bags some mornings when I’ve already been up for hours trying to finish responding to that stack of papers.