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  • LoveTeaching Week

Dear Parents by Holly Howard

Dear Parents,

I’m not writing to you today to ask for supplies or a signature of permission. I’m writing this letter to tell you how much I love the work that I do, and the most powerful part of that love is the love I have for your children. Every day you send them to me: either on a loud and overcrowded school bus or from the passenger seat of your warm car with breakfast in hand or with a growling stomach by foot on a worn path from your house to my door. You send them because you trust that I’ll care for them, feed them, counsel them, comfort them, teach them, guide them, praise them, punish them, and even sometimes, raise them. And I will. I’ll do all those things and more, but the hardest part of love is trusting, which is what I’m asking you for today. Trust me to teach your child to read--not just to take a test but to combine the words on the page with their own thoughts to form their own opinions. Trust me to teach your child the story of our past--not just the fairytale version that you were told, but the harsh truths of our reality should make us all want to pause, reflect, and change. Trust me to adapt--the world changes every day, and we want your child to learn to react, reflect, and adapt, not memorize, regurgitate, or resist. The best teachers teach day to day, not from a book or a lesson plan or a curriculum guide, but from what we know your child needs now to help them deal with whatever the world throws at them. Trust me to teach them what they need when they’re someday in your shoes, not just what they need right now in this moment of their childhood--not what you needed in yours. Trust me to make decisions that help cultivate a compassionate, empathetic, and engaged community of learners. Trust me to make your child feel welcomed, included, and respected in our classrooms, and trust us to help show them how to create that space for everyone around them. Trust me to allow them room to make mistakes, miss opportunities, and manage their own accountability. I love teaching because I love that I get to do all of these things with kids who will one day become adults and parents and leaders and change-makers. I love teaching because I love to learn. I don’t always have the right answers, and more often than not, I’m in search of them alongside your child, providing access to the information available to them. I love teaching because it’s been the most important part of my life for the past fifteen years, and I look forward to the hundreds of students I will teach in the next fifteen. I’m blessed that your child has been a part of my life, my experience, and my love for this work. With my sincere gratitude,

Holly Howard

Holly Howard is a 2021-2022 Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellow and an 11th grade English teacher at Bentonville High School in Bentonville

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