An Open Letter to My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher… We Lost This Year

An open letter to my son’s kindergarten teacher:

We lost this year.

I am sure you are going to go home and pat yourself on the back for a job well done, but the truth is, we lost this year. My son started out this year happy. He loved learning and was excited to go to school.

He lost all of that.

Dear Teacher.. We Lost this Year

He was immature and struggled with self-control. Change is difficult for him. We chose to wait a year and start kindergarten at 6 to let him mature another year. You could have come alongside of him and helped him, but instead, you crushed his spirit.

You see, I was in the classroom.

I watched you yell and be impatient with these kids. I watched you alienate and single out the kids who needed more support. In a world where bullying is such a hot topic, my son had a bully for a teacher.

Related: A Letter To the Teacher from the “Bad” Kid

But I have never said a negative word about you to my son. I still believe it is important for him to respect his teachers, even when they don’t respect him.

You were so focused on teaching your students their letters and numbers. You measure your success with their test scores and reading ability. You were so focused on passing out homework and discipline to control behaviors.

But, you missed something more important.

You missed teaching them life skills.
You missed teaching them empathy.
You missed teaching them self-control.
You missed teaching them respect and patience.
You missed teaching them how to help others and work in a group.

So we will spend our summer building our son’s spirit back up and praying for a more patient first grade teacher.

But I just needed you to know, we lost this year.

A loving parent who misses her happy child

* This letter was sent in by a reader. While it is not meant to shame or hurt any teachers, it is unfortunately the truth for so many kids that “don’t fit”. My hope in sharing this letter, is that others will see how much these children struggle and see them in a different light next year. All children deserve to be heard and understood.

If you have a child that doesn’t fit, you might want to check out some of these resources to help you understand them better.

The Real Reason Your Child Can’t Sit Still
Top Resources for Parenting an Angry Child
Top Resources for Parenting an Anxious Child
Newbies Guide to Sensory Processing

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6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher… We Lost This Year”

  1. Lizzy M

    This letter is frustrating in more ways than one.

    First, as a parent, I see my son being this child. He isn’t in kindergarten yet, but I know that he will struggle with the expectations of a typical public school in the US. He loves learning new things. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s happy. He tells me he loves school, except for the “learning part,” which to him, is the part where he has to sit still and be quiet. I’m nervous for him when he begins kindergarten.

    This letter frustrates me as a kindergarten teacher. Most kindergarten teachers know that what is being taught is developmentally inappropriate for our little kinder-buddies. We know that our kindergarten students are in what used to be a first grade classroom. They’re expected to read. They’re expected to add and subtract. They’re expected to sit for 15 to 20 minutes at a time without fidgeting, talking, losing interest. I read somewhere that a six year old has a six minute attention span. Our expectations are out of control. I want to tell all parents that we get it. We know. Unfortunately, writing the letter to the teacher doesn’t help much. Teachers aren’t in charge of setting the standards. Parents need to start contacting the school board. The superintendent. The politicians. That’s where change will happen. That’s where kindergarten teachers will be able to go back to teaching life skills: how to make friends, how to be a friend. How to “do” school.

  2. Kelly

    I completely feel for this parent and child. I also feel for the teacher. Many of us, I hope all, want to what is best for each of our students. It is unfortunate that this is no longer a priority of our schools. No one cares why your child is behaving as he does, they only want us to control him and get the class to pass the tests. “All kids can learn”, they say and it is up to us to figure out how to make that happen. If we can’t, we will lose our ability to provide for our families. It’s a mess and the children are the ones losing.

  3. Sara

    The teacher absolutely shares some responsibility, but the real problem is the broken system. The teacher is focused on test scores and taking out stress in your kids because the system so over-emphasizes this. The teacher needs to fight it, but ultimately the system needs to change. It’s damaging so many children.

    1. Melissa

      Standards, leadership expectations, high stakes testing-Does not matter! There is NO excuse for poor treatment of children. Fellow teachers, most of you get this. I have to put my head on my pillow at night, and there is NO pressure that will ever cause me to put undo or developmentally inappropriate pressure on my students. If you are a teacher then you are a learner. You continue to learn and grow right along with your students. A knowledgeable teacher knows how to meet students where they are. Expert teachers know their learners and you build on their strengths to help them grow in confidence, while making lessons engaging and fun. Stop making excuses. Love your students and teach them well.

  4. Teqcher

    The blame needs to go to the system and the teacher’s district who have set up a system in which scores and data are the most important thing – even more important than people. A teacher who teaches this way is in so much fear for herself tht she has forgotten children. What t agenda is doing to teachers and children is evil!

  5. Alix

    I did my student teaching with a teacher like this. The kids were scared of her, and I was scared of her too. And she was one of the top-performing kinder teachers in the school. I think everyone commenting that we have to fix the system is exactly right.

    The lady I taught with was teaching exactly how she was taught to in her teacher training program; she was getting good feedback from her administrator and fellow teachers; and she was helping improve test scores at a low-income school in a rough neighborhood.

    Kids can’t win in that system. And a lot of teachers don’t realize that the short-term “wins” are long-term fails. This woman was younger than me. I really think she believed she was helping those kids. So we have to create a system based on what we know about LEARNING, not what we think is a good standard for conforming.

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