Ask Mrs. Brooke | Behind the teacher stands the home

I dreamt I stood

In a studio

And watched two sculptors there,

The clay they used

Was a young child’s mind

And they fashioned it with care.

One was a teacher

The tools he/she used

Were books and

Music and art;

One was a parent

With a guiding hand

and a gentle loving heart.

And when at last

Their work was done

They were proud of

What they had wrought

For the things they

Had worked into the child

Could never be

Sold or bought.

And each agreed he/she would have failed

If he/she had worked alone

For behind the parent

Stood the school

And behind the teacher

Stood the home.


Each fall I stand in front of a brand new group of parents and read this poem to open up my Curriculum Night presentation. Each fall I choke back tears, as I comprehend the meaning of this poem. What grand jobs we have as teachers, and yet what more incredibly daunting roles we lead as parents.

Four years ago this January, I became a parent. Like most parents I know and talk to, never would I have guessed how my world would change. Even as an educator, the training and experience, the books and classes, nothing could have prepared me for this role. These little beings are placed in our arms and not only are we solely responsible for providing their basic needs for survival, but we have become our children’s first and most important teachers.

As our children’s first and most important teachers we try our best to raise our children into responsible, respectful, fun loving, empathetic, and good citizens all while providing engaging and worthwhile experiences to help foster a love of learning. When our children enter school we parents must often reassess our roles in our child’s education.

Other factors begin to influence our child’s learning. There is now a need for us parents to learn how to best support our children at home with what they are learning at school and how to best communicate effectively with our children’s teacher in order to help our children succeed.

My hope is this column is much like the studio in the poem where two sculptors (parents and teachers) work together in order to shape the young child’s mind. I hope it will provide parents in our community an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers on how to best support their learners at home. For a question one parents asks is probably a question several parents will have now or in the near future.

I will definitely not have all the answers but do my best to consult other educators, seek out resources, and communicate the latest research. And, when at last our work is done, let’s be proud of what we wrought, for behind the parent, stood the school, and behind the teacher stood the home.

You may contact Mrs. Brooke by email at with any questions regarding your child’s learning.

Joy Brooke is the first and most important teacher of her four-year old son and two year old daughter. She resides in downtown Kirkland with her husband and two children. Brooke currently teaches AM Kindergarten at Ben Franklin Elementary in the Lake Washington School District. She is a National Board Certified teacher in Literacy: Reading- Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood, holds a B.A. in Educational Studies and a M.A. in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon. The opinions provided in this column do not reflect that of the LWSD or any other organization she is affiliated.

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