As a work-from-home mother of two, I am fortunate enough to get a ton of face time with my girls. However, when my oldest daughter was old enough to go to preschool, I was torn.

On the one hand, that’s four to eight hours every day that she’s someone else’s problem. On the other hand, sending my baby into the care of another person went against every one of my maternal instincts.

When finally let go and enrolled her into preschool, I gained a whole new appreciation for the profession.

Having two kids is a full-time job—but what if your actual full-time job was to have a whole classroom full of kids, all day long? Honestly, choosing to do this is something I can’t imagine. That’s why I have so much adoration and respect for preschool teachers.

Seriously! These people are saints. They make their jobs look easy. However, us parents know that being a preschool teacher is more like herding cats that are chasing mice who are sniffing for cheese — it is not a task for the faint of heart.

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There are many, many reasons why I’m thankful for my daughter’s preschool teachers. Oh, how I love you. Shall I list the ways?

Teachers Educate & Entertain

Preschool has changed in recent decades. A lot. When I was in preschool many moons ago, the emphasis was on socializing with other kids, finger-painting and nap time. Now, with the multitude of standardized tests and high expectations for our kids once they enter elementary school, preschool is a lot more academic than it used to be.

By the time they leave kindergarten, our kids are expected to read basic, consonant-vowel-consonant words, know the sounds of each letter and be able to write the alphabet. That means they better leave preschool ready to get learning!

There’s way more pressure on preschool teachers than ever to not only keep our kids entertained, but also to educate them at the same time. Luckily, there are a ton of really great resources for fun activities that make it easy to find new ways to teach all kids.

Teachers See a Different Side of Our Kids

Let’s keep this between you and me, but sometimes, my daughter sucks. Sometimes, I don’t even want to be around her and I made her. I guess that’s because she’s not afraid to show me her dark side.

Though I am proud to be raising an independent and strong-willed child, sometimes, when she looks me in the eye, I can tell that she’s asking me, “Do you have the guts to take me on?” I hide my fear, tilt up my chin and let my eyes tell her, “Yes… yes, I do.”

Her teacher, on the other hand, gets to see her at her best. Even though she was the baby of the group when she entered preschool, her progress has been phenomenal. With her teacher, she’s agreeable, polite and picks up her toys. With other kids, she’s cooperative, kind and considerate.

I’m so grateful that her teacher relays to me how lovely my daughter is, even if I don’t always see that side of her.

Teachers Connect with Our Kids

Relatedly, preschool teachers have an awesome ability to connect with our kids. That’s probably because they’re not us. Because of that connection, they can educate and teach children the real skills they will need as they learn and grow.

Whereas I feel like my primary job at this point is to teach my daughter how not to be a jerk, her preschool teacher is teaching her how to count, what the days of the week are, color names and a million other practical things, every day.

I was completely taken aback recently when my daughter came home from school and just casually counted to ten in Spanish followed with an “Adios, amigo!” Knowing full well I haven’t taught her a word of Spanish personally, it’s just another of the countless reasons to be so grateful for her teachers.

Teachers Have the Patience of Saints

I’m not going to lie—I have very little patience. After dealing with work all day, breastfeeding my infant daughter and shuffling my eldest to and from preschool, I’m spent.

By the time my husband gets home around 6, there’s not much patience left—for anyone.

Preschool teachers seem to have a well of patience they draw on during times of great stress, when half the classroom of kids are crying and the other half is breaking into the finger paints. I’m not sure how they do it, but I will say, I am impressed. I wish they could bottle up that patience and sell it as I would be first in line to purchase a case.

Preschool Teachers Are Incredibly Organized

Personally, I find that having a system of organization not only saves time, but it also reduces my stress and saves my sanity. If I didn’t have a system in place, I wouldn’t get anything done.

Being a preschool teacher is an unpredictable job. If you’re not prepared for any and every potential pitfall, your whole classroom structure could crumble into chaos. For this reason, having an organized classroom is essential—not just for preschool teachers, but really for all educators.

My daughter’s teacher is impressive. Not only is her classroom perfectly organized, with a designated place for every item, but she also has an inspiring system of folders to keep track of daily tasks, educational goals and student worksheets and activities. I wish she would organize my life.

Teachers Have to Deal With Me (the Parent)

Lest we forget that in addition to dealing with tiny tots all day, these preschool teachers need to deal with parents, too!

Every day when I pick my daughter up from school her teacher is ready and waiting to give me the rundown on how her day was, what she ate, what she didn’t eat, if she napped—all while simultaneously wrangling all of the other students she’s still caring for. I know I could never do this job and it’s always impressive to witness first hand.

Preschool Teachers Are Basically the Best!

So there you have it. Preschool teachers are amazing. They put up with our kids. They put up with us parents. Amazingly, they do it all with smiling faces. They deserve so much credit for their patience and the role they play in shaping the minds of our children.

Next time you meet a preschool teacher—or any teacher really—give them a high-five and tell them how thankful you are for all they do.