By Kimberly Anderson, candidate for Amarillo ISD Board
An open letter to my colleagues, my friends, my heroes: teachers
I see you. I see you pulling into the parking lot before the sun comes up and leaving after it has set. I see you at the store buying crayons, markers, glue sticks......all the glue sticks....snacks, an extra coat, extra clothes, and hand sanitizer for your classroom. You won’t be reimbursed, but the kids need them. I see you staying up way later than you should reading and scouring the internet for something, anything that will make that TEK relevant to your kids. I see you combing and braiding that little girl’s hair before the other kids get to school. I see how much you’ve spent on Teachers Pay Teachers. I see you at the Kids Inc volleyball game on your Saturday afternoon. I see you packing him a lunch as you pack yours and taking her laundry home with you.
I see you rushing to the store during your 30 minute lunch break to get new cupcakes for the birthday girl whose cupcakes got ruined on the way to school. I see you hurrying back to school after your chemo treatment and powering through the nausea because the kids need you. I see you calling in favors to find your student’s dad a job. I see you cooking a meal for her family after her dad’s accident, and hugging him a little tighter and worrying a lot more after his mom’s death.
I see you proofing her scholarship essay and coaching him for his interview. I see you stocking up on Ramen and granola bars for the kids who spend lunch in your classroom. I see you bringing him khakis from your own closet for his new job. I see you up all night grading essays. I see you finding businesses to pay for your students’ AP tests and planning every detail of that NHS induction ceremony, so it will be perfect. I see you traveling to Austin to watch your students win state. I see you comforting a breaking heart and showing up because if you don’t, no one will be there for her.
I see what really happens during your three months “off” in the summer.
And though you are really good at hiding them, I see your tears, and I hear you praying for these kids that you love, other people’s kids.
More and more is asked of you each year. You don’t just teach our kids anymore. You are on constant watch for signs of abuse or trauma and daily deal with the aftermath in your classroom. You help identify students in need and help connect them with resources. You have been trained in the best ways to protect our kids should the unthinkable happen, including sacrificing your own life. You go above and beyond “above and beyond” every day.
I just want you to know that I see you. I hear you, and I’ll fight for you.