To: Charleston Teachers, Love: Charleston Moms (A Giant Thank You Card!)

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It seems like a lifetime ago that the 2020/2021 school year started. The uncertainty, stress, and fear that occurred last fall sometimes feel somewhat hard to remember now that things are slowly returning to normal.

Remember when we all had to make the choice whether or not to send our kids to in-person school? Remember schools and daycares shutting down? Remember endless nights of decision-making during a time when none of us knew what to do? Remember teaching your child how to put on a face mask for the first time? Remember everyone saying “You just do what is best for your child and your family” but having ZERO clue what that actually was?

And then remember how these incredible teachers put our children first?

They rearranged their rooms, loaded up on cleaning products, and took it day by day, with changes being thrown at them constantly. Some learned how to teach online school for the first time. Some taught virtually AND in-person. Some opened up a preschool in their backyard (okay, maybe that was just my kid’s preschool teacher!) But the point is, these selfless men and women made it so our children could continue to learn in the most loving environment possible. Even without being able to give their sweet students a hug or a high five.

In this wild year, my family has experienced the full gamut of education. We did virtual kindergarten and backyard preschool, and then transitioned to in-person kindergarten and headed back to the preschool that feels like a second home to us. The level of care that each teacher showed my children had this year is unexplainable. The patience, kindness, and energy that radiated from the screen from my kindergartner’s virtual teacher was incredible. How she kept her composure with 20 five-year-olds on a Zoom call is beyond me.

The creativity, adaptability, and fun that my preschooler’s teacher brought each day to her own backyard made my heart burst. And then when it was time for us to head back to in-person school this January, my kids’ teachers welcomed them into their classrooms as though they had never left. I cannot believe how easy it was for my kindergartner to head back to his elementary school, mask and all, and learn to read in a short couple of months. All while his teacher is constantly adding new students to her roster and having to explain the classroom rules to the new kids coming back over and over. The compassion, gentleness, understanding, and kindness that I have seen teachers give students and families this year, while were put through the wringer, is something I will never, ever forget.

Thank you all for loving my kids in a year when they absolutely needed it most.

I asked moms all over Charleston to share with me what they want the teachers of Charleston to know, and these are their incredible words of gratitude.

This Is a Giant “Thank You” Card, From Us to You.

Dear teachers,

There are not enough words to say thank you for the work that you do with and for our kids, each and every day, and most especially this last year. We know that some parts, especially during the pandemic, were not what you signed up for, and yet you showed up every day. You put on a brave face, despite your own fears, to show our children what true bravery and courage look like and to help bring some normalcy to a very abnormal time. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

COVID hasn’t been easy but wow, they have made school such a wonderful place for the kids! Some people are just meant to be teachers.

Thank you teachers for being there when we could not! For comforting, teaching, loving, encouraging, and empathizing with our kids. Thank you for staying and helping our kids thrive during the toughest year you have probably ever had to endure. Our children (and us as parents) will NEVER forget the positive impact you’ve made on them and the sacrifice you’ve made for them. COVID took something from all of us, but thanks to you amazing teachers, our kids gained an invaluable lesson on how to persevere. We love you!

Dear teachers,

You already have an exhausting job but this year you had to do it on top of a pandemic and you did it as if nothing had changed. You met every challenge head-on and with what I hope was a smile behind your mask. I cannot thank you enough for making my daughter’s first year in big girl school such a huge success. Thank you for your courage, bravery, your hard work, and encouraging attitude. You truly are the best!

Dear Teachers,

I don’t have enough words to tell you how thankful we are for you this year and every year. You have made a chaotic time have a little bit of peace and normalcy. You brought smiles and sunshine to our children while the world was stormy. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices you have made to continue educating our children. This year especially you have had a profound influence on our lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you for your sacrifice and commitment! For those who chose to, you allowed our children to be around their friends and learn from individuals and in an environment that is best for their development!

I am over the moon impressed with the beautiful and creative crafts our FJCS and HVES teachers have made with our kiddos this year. The thoughtfulness and ingenuity our teachers have taken to educate through beautiful artwork are remarkable. Thank you, God for our amazing teachers!

To all teachers of the 2020/2021 school year:

Your creativity, flexibility, resilience, empathy, and strength of character are remarkable and second to none! Thank you for loving, caring, and encouraging my child through one of the hardest school years ever! You are cherished, respected, and appreciated more than you can ever realize.

Faced with uncertainty and conflicting viewpoints, teachers did what they do best – they showed up, ready to love and teach our children. As they’ve done in the past and will continue to do, teachers showed the world that they are superheroes. Educators, we are so thankful for the sacrifices you make every day, and especially those you made this past year.

To the teachers who said “yes” when the world was a giant question mark, thank you! Thank you for courageously leading the way in a masked classroom. Thank you for changing your teaching methods to accommodate my children in the midst of a global pandemic. Thank you for being there every single day as a face of consistency when the rest of the world wasn’t. Teachers deserve way more than a week of appreciation… especially this year! We love you all!

The teachers at Fort Johnson Christian School were immediately ready to get back to loving the children when we re-opened. No hesitation, even when we were faced with so much uncertainty. Their love for their work shines through and helped our children to feel safe and secure and ready to learn.

My girl is in her last year of elementary school. My anxiety over the transition to middle school has been eased by her teachers this year. They have adapted their teaching styles and mindsets so much and stayed flexible and that has taught my girl to do the same. That has prepared her for this big transition more than they know. Thank you.

Ms. Hamilton has been so absolutely wonderful at welcoming a group of four-year-olds into their first year of school during a pandemic. I was nervous about sending my daughter to school but Ms. Hamilton has made it a great year and her seesaw pictures and slideshows have allowed us to peek into the classroom since we can’t be there in person. Her most recent art unit has blown me away and I love that I can talk with my four-year-old about Georgia O’Keefe, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Michelangelo, Ansel Adams, and more!

I would love to give a shout-out to two teachers! First, Ms. Chanler! She is just amazing and perfect in every way!! And second to Mrs. P. Smalls! She has the patience of Job! Bless all of them! Oh! And where would the entire school be without Caroline Boyd! Amazing woman!

To the teachers: Thank you for your patience and bravery! Thank you for making my children feel safe and loved.

Thank you to Addlestone teachers for never missing a beat and keeping students safe!

Thank you for selflessly risking SO much to care for our kids. You’re heroes!

Thank you to our teachers for adjusting and taking on the challenge of online teaching. Your efforts and hard work are greatly appreciated.

To all the educators who give their all every day. THANK YOU! Thank you for never giving up, despite crazy politics and impossible demands. Thank you for doing what you do for little pay and oftentimes little respect. Thank you for loving our children like they are your own. Thank you for knowing more about math than me! Thank you for continuously giving, even when you have almost nothing left. I have had the pleasure to work in the field with you all for almost 20 years now, and I am continuously in awe of your hearts and your passions and your drive, and your commitment. There is no greater group of individuals amassed than our educators. And, in a year that was just flat out insane and filled with the most impossible to believe insanity, you continued to do what you do and do it so well without resources or sometimes support and often times little notice. So, while thank you seems so trivial, know that there are so many who are forever grateful and appreciative of you and can’t find the words or the means to express it. You are truly shaping our future and ensuring our world is better than it has been in recent times. Keep on being so fabulous and hopefully, eventually, nothing but sunshine and rainbows will rain down upon you. You all more than deserve it!

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