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Saying Goodbye to a Favorite Teacher


When spring rolled around last year, 7-year-old Jacob Thoning began causing trouble in the classroom. "He finally admitted that he was doing it so that he'd get left back and be able to stay with the two teachers he adored," says his mom, Ellen, of Boulder, CO.

Saying goodbye at the end of the school year can be tough for kids, who've often formed strong attachments to their teachers. "A child spends a big chunk of his life with this person, who may have protected him and helped him meet challenges," says Susan Isaacs Kohl, author of The Best Things Parents Do. "Kids also cling to their teachers because they're worried about what will be expected of them in the next grade."

To help make the parting more sweet than sorrowful:

Write it down. In a letter to her teacher, your child can talk about her favorite parts of the year and why she enjoyed being in her class so much, which may help her manage her feelings.

Talk to the teacher. She may already be able to tell how much your child's going to miss her, but if you mention it, she'll be in a better position to help your child through the transition.

Give a gift. Encourage your child to create something special for her teacher that's just from her. Jacob made his teachers elaborate drawings of lizards -- a favorite of his -- peppered with hearts.

Keep in touch. If your child's staying at the same school, tell her that she'll be able to visit her old teacher next year from time to time.

Look ahead. Reassure her that she'll do well in her new class, too. If possible, stop by to meet the new teacher, so she can see that as hard as it is to say goodbye, there's plenty to look forward to.