3 words.

Working with Mrs. D. this year I’ve already learned many things… of all the gifts she’s given me, there's one that rises to the top.

Last year, when I began teaching kindergarten, something happened to me for the first time in my professional career. Students began saying, ‘I love you’ – something most teachers don’t hear unless you work with the real itty bitty ones. Unsure how to reply, I usually said something like ‘Thank you, you’re special to me too’ or ‘You are so kind to say that’… typical guy reply, right?

In all honesty, I just wasn’t sure it was appropriate for me to say it back. To be clear, I do love my students… almost all of them, almost all the time. They bring light and joy into my life on a daily basis and I realize they teach me just as much as I teach them. I just didn’t know if those three little words were supposed to be used in the classroom.

Turns out, I was wrong... dead wrong. The first time I heard Mrs. D. say ‘Thank you, I love you too’ back to a child was a turning point for me. Hearing her say those three small words back to a child was liberating. From that moment, I began saying it back.

So to all my sprouts from last year that I denied this gift, here it is, in writing: I love you.


Theresa Milstein said...

You just made me tear up. I wouldn't know what to say either.

The other day, I heard a teacher say he used to work with someone who, at the end of every day, hugged each of her middle school students. Middle school! When you bond like that, kids respond. I guess you just can be scared to accept it.

Everyday Goddess said...

We can all use those three special words!


Jessica S. said...

Ah, that is sweet! My students say that to me often and I always say it back. But I'm a woman and it's easier for me! lol
Sometimes I say it first, because I have some students that I wonder if they hear it from anywhere else.

futureflstar said...

My kids don't usually say it...but they sign it all the time.
I think it has a lot to do with The Kissing Hand though. :) I always sign it back and I prefer that since it's a quiet way to do it. :)

Vodka Mom said...

and guess what?

i love you, too.


Vodka Mom said...

and guess what?

i love you, too.


Jennifer said...

I tell my middle school kids I love them all the time, and they ALWAYS respond LOUDLY, "We LOVE YOU, Ms. Wagner!" It's so funny, but I do realize that they arent told that very much when they are, you know, 13 and mercurial at best.

And I just have to say, isn't it fun how moms always post things twice on these techno-gadgetey-doohickeys? Its okay when the messages are so nice.:)

Kat said...

That was a really thought provoking post. It's a sign of our times that teachers have to worry about showing affection to their students.

MamaBear said...

That's awesome. I, too, had the good fortune to be paired with an amazing partner my first two years in kindergarten, and it was worth ten times more than every dollar and every hour I spent on my credential courses. Every teacher should be so lucky! Now, someday, we get to try and pay it forward...

ParkerMama said...

My oldest is doing her student teaching in the 4th grade. She, too, has been told that she was loved.

And she responded in kind.

Tammy and Parker

Fatima said...

Awesome! I taught fifth grade in a somewhat rough area... I told my kiddos all the time how much I loved them. I always kept it light and somewhat silly. You know... fifth grade boys and all. ;)
Thing is, they know you love 'em whether you say it or not. It's something that so easy to see from a great teacher, and great teachers love their kiddos.
I've been out of the classroom for nearly 9 years now. I sent my kiddos birthday cards in the mail for years. Now, they've found me on facebook. Most of them are in their early twenties now and needing every bit of encouragement they can get as they try to make it in a very tough place (some of them with very little support).
Great teachers send a little bit of their heart off with their students and that may just be more important than the little bit of knowledge we send with them. :)