Memories of meeting my own teachers for the first time as a kid are hazy recollections of colorful blazers, fluffy haircuts, and shoulder pads (it was the early ‘90s, don't judge). However, now that I’m on the other side, and meeting teachers as the parent and on behalf of my young kid, there is a lot more to it than simply saying, “She looks nice so I think I’m going to like her,” which is pretty much how I thought as a kid. Now I'm acutely aware that there are plenty of things that a new mom thinks about her kid’s first teacher, but doesn’t say out loud.
For the record, my kid’s school situation is technically daycare, but since it runs on a schedule consistent with the academic year, because his dad teaches, we have very strong back-to-school vibes in our house. So, you can be sure that meeting my kid's first teacher was a big deal. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I was hopeful, optimistic, and terrified. Leaving your kid in someone else's care (who also has to care for a number of other children, simultaneously) is no easy task.
Thankfully, she knew more about what she was doing than I did, and it was a fairly smooth transition, all things considering. Admittedly, while my mind was a waterfall of intense feels that weren’t forming completely clear thoughts, if I could revisit my thought process from that fateful September morning, I imagine it looked something like this:
"You Look Way Calmer Than I Expected You Would"
To be fair I didn’t expect you to be acting as if your hair was on fire, but I thought there'd be at least a flicker of fear. I mean, you’re responsible for a room full of toddlers, so such a reaction would have made total sense. But, nope, none of that. I'm impressed.
"Please Tell Me You Know What You’re Doing…"
Like my constant need for reassurance from my partner that he intends to stay married to me for at least a little bit longer, I just like to hear you say it.
"Is There Anything I Should Be Doing?"
Where should I stand? Can I stand here all day? How long is too long to watch from the corner of the room? At what point does this become weird?
"You Can Manage Toddlers While Wearing Business Casual Attire? Impressive."
If I were you, I’d be wearing a full body smock. Or some kind of medieval armor. Actually, both, to prevent rusting.
"I Know That You Know How Nervous I Am, But You’re Pretending Not To Notice…"
Perhaps it’s my never-ending line of questioning, my awkward jokes, or the fact that I’m clutching my child like he’s my own childhood bedtime blanket; but the fact that you’re conversing with me like we’re both grown-ups is not lost on me and something I so very much appreciate.
"The Way You’re Handling My Kid’s Nerves Is Actually Pretty Clutch, Too"
I’m pretty sure he can tell, too. Like, if there was any hint that something wasn’t right or safe here, I’d have to peel him from my leg and since that’s not happening, we’re off to a promising start.
"Is It OK To Bring You Some Coffee? Or Wine? If I Was You, I’d Need Copious Amounts Of Both."
Or, if you don’t do wine, how about chocolate? Cheese? The entire series of Dawson's Creek on DVD? Or some other indulgent delicacy? I mean, since we both know that my kid’s too young for report cards or college recommendation letters, I can assure you that my intentions are pure. I just want you to be at your best.
"I Don't Know What We'd Do Without You"
Your work is so important. Is it weird if I tell you that everyday during drop-off? Can I just cross-stitch is for something you'll hang somewhere prominent?
"I Really Want You To Like Me…"
I’m not like those other parents, who are going to be bothersome. I’m going to be fun! You’re going to love calling me to tell me that I need to come to the school in the middle of the day! It’s going to be great!
"...But Not As Much As I Want You To Like My Kid"
Although, if we end up being bitter enemies (we won’t I'm sure, but just in case) that’s still fine as long as my kid doesn’t notice.
"Not All Heroes Wear Capes"
For the record, you have my utmost respect and appreciation. I don’t offer coffee and wine to just anybody, you know.