An Open Letter to my Daughter on her First Day of School

Today is my daughter's first day of school. Well, to be more precise, it's her first day of school as a teacher. Today she starts her new career - a dream she's held on to since she was a child.  It's so exciting to see her realize her dream and it's especially rewarding for me since she's teaching in the same district I work in. So, today I share with you, my readers, my letter to her on this momentous day.

My dearest Ariana,

Today is your second "first day of school." First, and foremost, I have tell you just how proud I am of you - of the fact that you're a teacher now, of the wonderful young lady you've become, and of all the wonderful work I've already seen you do as you've prepared for this school year.

It seems like only yesterday that your mom and I dropped you off at Coker Elementary for your first day of school. When we dropped you off, we gave you three simple pieces of advice to help you in your new journey...

  • Don't Be Afraid.
  • Listen to Your Teacher.
  • Have Fun.

So, here I sit, 17 years later and wonder what sage advice I should give you as a new teacher. After all, I have over 20 years of experience in education. I should be able to come up with something meaningful, earth shattering, and profound. Right?

Well, as it turns out, my advice to you today is the same as it was all those years ago.

Don't Be Afraid

A new job, especially one that affects the lives of children, can be daunting. You may be a little concerned about whether you're ready for this wonderful new challenge. I can honestly tell you - you have nothing to fear. To put it simply, "You've got this!" 

Watching you prepare for your class these last few weeks has amazed me. You have the enthusiasm of a brand new teacher mixed brilliantly with the insight of a veteran. You have a clear vision of where you want to take your students and I am confident that you'll do it. Realize that you will stumble.  You'll make mistakes. You'll get frustrated.  But, never be afraid to take those risks. You'll grow as a teacher and your students will benefit in the long run. 

Teaching can sometimes be a battle. But the rewards are great. So venture boldly!

Listen To Your Teacher

Years ago you listened to your teacher and all went well. That advice still holds true, but it has a different meaning now. I want you to listen to the teacher inside of you. In other words, trust yourself. You've been blessed by God with an incredible ability to connect with young children. You've always been good at it. Anytime you walk into a room with kids, I'm amazed at how quickly they flock to you. When kids are with you they feel safe, cared for, and most importantly - loved. You have a rare teaching instinct.  Trust that instinct. Follow you heart and it will always lead you in the right direction.

Have Fun

There is no other job in the world as fun as teaching. Your students will make you laugh daily. Your colleagues and you will share incredible experiences. Never stop having fun. 

There will be plenty of things to test you and push you to your limits. But keep your eyes on the big picture. You may dread the paperwork. You might hate the test. You can despise the duty assignment. But, never, ever stop loving the adventure. 

People like you and I are so blessed, sweetie. I truly believe we are called by God to serve His children. Our job is not only a profession, but it is our mission. Relish in the fact that you get to do what you love every day!

I love you so much and am very proud of you! You're gonna rock that Pre-K room!


day_by_day said…
You are so right, Dr. Rios, teaching is a calling to serve. The parents, students, and co-workers associated with the service of you and Ariana are blessed to have you on our team. Ariana is in her element as I witnessed her glowing face all day. And the kids were hooked when they first met her. Anyway, I look forward to working in the room next to her, for I know when I need a pick-me-up, I just need to take a peek in her room and it will brighten my day. Mary Beth
Mohamed Goneam said…
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Jan Haskins said…
What a heartfelt letter. The first official day of school is perhaps one of the most momentous occasions, not only for the child but also for the parents’ life. It shows that your kid has already grown so much and is now starting to spread her wings. I am so happy for you. :)
Jan Haskins

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