Friday, May 10, 2013

When Thank You Isn't Enough

I already got a little teary eyed this morning.  On top of that, I completely made a teacher cry.
You see, there are people in life who, whether you realize in the moment or not, will leave a lasting and far reaching impact on your life.
Teacher can be those people.
Not always, but sometimes.

Sometimes, you happen to be lucky enough to be blessed with a teacher that isn't just good, or even great, but is the kind of person who truly makes changes.
This year, we were so lucky to have gotten Middie's teacher.  It was kind of luck, too.
She wasn't the original teach for the year.  We were supposed to have someone totally different, who ended up being moved to forth grade due to enrollment numbers.  This meant that two weeks into the school year, our teacher was moved suddenly form First grade, where she had been told she was going to get to stay, to Kinder.

Not only was she moved, but she was given the most difficult class I have ever seen.  I don't say that lightly.  The class mix was absolutely not a balanced one, and even I could see it.  Additionally, from being the "home room parent" I can tell you that the parents are mostly not active participants with the school.  I couldn't get anyone to come in and help with just about anything, not even for parties.  I mean, we are in the south, and people wouldn't donate food.  That has to tell you how bad it was.  We love party food here.  It's sort of a religion in itself, and yet, I had to beg and over compensate.  It is that bad.  So, she had little to no help all year long.

Yet, through it only, she didn't just choose to persevere, she chose to blaze.
This teacher came in and saw a flawed system.  She wanted better, not just for her class, but for every child there.  She knows that Kindergarten is truly the foundation of the rest of their educational careers, and she was determined to give every child at this school the strongest foundation that they could possibly get.
She advocated for change.  She fought for the kids.  I can not imagine what all she has put into that school this year, but I do know that every child in Kindergarten this year, and every year to follow, is better for it.
So, you see, I don't think there will ever be adequate thanks for all of that.  I would give her a medal if I could.  I should have nominated her for every single teaching award I could find.  Even though no one else may proclaim it, and all of those children who's future's have been changed may never even realize it, I know that she is truly the Teacher of the Year.

When it came time for teacher appreciation week, there was no way I couldn't give back.
I sent out a note asking all the parents to donate to a class gift, and letting them know it was teacher appreciation week.  Of course, if they won't donate food, I didn't expect much.  I did get a couple of donations.  That was great.  Regardless, as to who did or didn't help, though,she was getting a good thank you.
On Monday, when I covered the class for her during new Kinder registration, I took a blank white card and had all the kids in the room sign it.  I took it home to scrap it.  On Tuesday, she got a big, gorgeous, potted flower from us.  I took the donations we got, I ask for a Starbucks coffee theme since she has a coffee pot in the class, and put it in a cute container she can use in class.  In addition to the coffee and mug we had, I put a few other things in, along with the card from the class.  We also left her a little gift certificate in the book fair going on in the library for her to buy a book or two for the class.

This morning  I took everything into class.  I stood at the door and ask for two of the kids.  I had them give it to her, and tell her it was from the whole class.  She read what was written for her, and started to tear up.  She came over to give me a hug, and I started to cry.  I told her from the bottom of my heart that there would never be enough thanks for everything she has done, and said some of the things that I said here.  She is truly inspirational.
She is the kind of teacher that we all wish for when we send out kids to school, and we were lucky enough to get her.
I am thankful.  Now, and always.  Thank you for helping my child love school.  Thank you for giving her the best education you could.  Thank you for being kind.  Thank you for being generous.  Thank you for really making a difference that will be felt forever more.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.