My son starts school today.
It shouldn’t be that big a deal.
He’s been going to the nursery at the same school for the past year, so it’s not a new environment for him.
He’ll already know the teacher and most of the other kids in his class.
He’s already made friends there, who he misses during the holidays.
And it’s a fantastic school; warm and caring with a real sense of community spirit.
So it shouldn’t be that big a deal.
But it is. For his mum and me, at least.
The transition from babyhood to proper childhood is now officially complete, and it feels both exciting and scary at the same time.
I don’t have the words to accurately convey all the hopes and fears a parent feels on their child’s first day at school, so I’m very thankful that Mrs K found this beautiful poem by Emma Robinson on the excellent Motherhood for Slackers blog, which in turn prompted a heartwarming response from a teacher (I can’t find a source for the second poem, so if you know who wrote it please let me know).
Dear Teacher . . .
I know you’re rather busy
First day back, there’s just no time
A whole new class of little ones
And this one here is mine
I’m sure you have things covered
And have done this lots before
But my boy is very little
He hasn’t long turned four
In his uniform this morning
He looked so tall and steady
But now beside your great big school
I’m not quite sure he’s ready
Do you help them eat their lunch?
Are you quick to soothe their fears?
And if he falls and hurts his knee
Will someone dry his tears?
And what if no-one plays with him?
What if someone’s mean?
What if two kids have a fight
And he’s caught in between?
You’re right, I have to leave now
It’s time for him to go
I’m sure he’ll learn so much from you
Things that I don’t know
Yes, I’m sure they settle quickly
That he’s fine now without me
I know he has to go to school
It’s just so fast, you see
It seems like just a blink ago
I first held him in my arms
It’s been my job to love, to teach
To keep him safe from harm
So, when I wave goodbye in a moment
And he turns to walk inside
Forgive me if I crumple
Into tears of loss and pride
I know as I give him one more kiss
And watch him walk away
That he’ll never again be wholly mine
As he was before today.
I understand that you are scared
to wave your child goodbye
and leave him in a teacher’s hands
don’t worry if you cry!
I’m used to weeping parents
It’s hard to leave I know.
But it’s time to share him (just a bit)
To help him learn and grow.
Let me reassure you
That I’ll give your child my best
I’ll wipe his tears, soothe his fears
And change his dirty vest!
If your darling child is full of cold
I’ll blow their nose all day
Just like you, I’ll care for them
In a special way.
I’ll treat him like I would my own
I’ll catch him from a fall and
If there is ANY problem
I’ll be sure to tell you all.
It’s true he’ll grow to love us
They’ll talk of school a lot
It doesn’t mean they hate you
And that you should lose the plot!
I’ll tell you a secret..
That when your child is here
They talk to me as much of you
Of this please have no fear.
You’ll always be their mother
Whilst teachers come and go
To them you are their number one
This I truly know.
Soon you’ll see some changes
In your little girl or boy
They’ll become more independent
And to see this, it’s a joy!
I’ll teach them all I have to give
To share, climb and to write
But to you they safely will return
To tuck them in at night.