Open Letter to Our 2nd Grade Teacher

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Photo: The writer and her friends in their elementary years

Dear 2nd Grade Teacher,

I know you see me. Standing in the middle-front, trying not to look to eager for your attention. Craning my neck to get a first glimpse of you on the first day – a whole world of possibilities before us. I’m not new to this school so I know how things work, I’ve learned my lesson about looking too anxious and attacking too quickly with questions about your classroom and what might be in store. I’m more reserved now, at least on the outside. In kindergarten I took the front spot, nearly knocking the teacher down as she opened the door. There were snickers behind me when that happened. I was embarrassed and red faced for the rest of that first day.

I wish I could hide it better. It’s who I am; nerdy to the core, overly aggressive when it comes to getting things right and wanting so badly to follow the rules and be liked. These things don’t always go hand-in-hand, I’ve learned. Playing it cool would be a much better path.

The thing is, I can’t quite get to the coolness of it all. It’s hard for me contain myself and I see you acknowledge my overeager restlessness out of the corner of your eye. I can almost see myself from a bird’s eye view, jumping for the pencil box and trying to balance the notebook on my extended arms, stomach shaky inside, knees wobbling. It seems less than perfect; I know you see it, too. I think I see you take a deep breath as you pass me.

I wish I could tell you I will calm down. I will get into the swing of things and try to temper my questions. I will always raise my hand to help out but will try to be less often the first one. The anxiety and excitement of the first day have pushed me to my edge and as a result, I’m just too far gone to be relaxed. When the line files into the classroom and you close the door I try to take a deep breath; the year has begun. Whatever will be, will be.

Walking home having left my son behind with you, I try to convince myself not to email you immediately.

Please know, it’s not you, it’s me. I trust you completely and just so badly want everything to be perfect.


Devin’s Mom