It was an unceremonious ending. There was no fanfare, no hugs, and little recognition of the teachers and students who spent so much time piled into classrooms before the pandemic reshaped our lives. For my daughter, Sophie, and many others, the last day of day care this year was signified only by a Zoom meeting. Sophie gave the computer screen frantic, last kisses, and I fired off a hasty thank you email to her teacher. Then it was over… without the sort of goodbye any of us deserved, especially the hardworking teachers who gave so much of themselves to our children onscreen and in person since last August.
So in the absence of gifts and flowers, of a classroom teeming with last day excitement, I have only my words to convey the depths of my gratitude — a parent’s thank you to her child’s day care teacher, and to all of the teachers who didn’t get a proper goodbye at the end of this lonely year. I give my humble appreciation knowing that words are weightless, that they flap invisible wings and disappear into our subconscious minds, never to be seen again. And yet…
Thank you for…
Thank you for enduring weeks of tears as a terrified toddler was dropped into your arms at the beginning of the year. She found safety in your comforting hugs and your soothing words, and in the refuge of a classroom where she could discover and learn.
Thank you for taking care of my child’s needs: changing her diapers, wiping her nose, applying bandaids and ice and any other remedy the situation necessitated.
Thank you, day care teachers, for being silly. We adults take ourselves too seriously sometimes, so thank you for filling the classroom with giggles and games and dancing.
Thank you for recognizing that each tiny voice needs to be heard, and for taking the time to truly understand our children.
Thank you for your endless reserve of patience and energy. The latter half of the year showed us parents just how much energy our children demand. Nap time, anyone?
Thank you for brushing aside any of your own problems to put my child first. Your selflessness should be an example to all of us.
Thank you for exposing yourself to germs and to tantrums, and for remaining calm and kind even when my child is at her worst.
Thank you for the moments of pure joy that stick in our children’s souls.
Thank you for teaching my child the basics, for laying the foundation for a lifetime of academic learning. And for the other lessons that are as important: respect, kindness and friendship.
Thank you for tackling distance education with enthusiasm and vigor even though our children often are restless and unable to sit still for very long.
Thank you for handling each change and challenge this year with grace. Your smile was a constant in our lives through a lot of uncertainty.
Thank you for all the days parents don’t say thank you.
Thank you for loving our babies freely, even though you know the pain of saying goodbye is inevitable.
Soon, our lives will shift again, as we enter another season that promises more uncertainty still. But in the meantime, let’s stop to appreciate our day care teachers who, in this fractured, imperfect year, still gave our children all of the love and knowledge they had to offer.
Here are some ways to say thank you to day care teachers while in quarantine.
Read more on how to choose the right day care center.