Yet another school year has come and gone and it is just getting better and better. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am now doing what I was meant to do. The year had its highs and lows, but my students made it possible for me to leave happy every single day. Their sweet faces glowing with wonder and excitement about their learning gave me so much hope for the future -- theirs, mine, and ours. My co-teacher was amazing and we couldn't have done it without each other. It took me awhile to allow myself some of the credit for what the kids were accomplishing but in retrospect I realize how central I was in their learning. Duh, right!?
Of all the end-of-the-year gifts, the most priceless came from one of my students and his parents. The student made me the most intricate and thoughtful paper bag puppet (something I'd taught him to do days earlier). He asked me my favorite animal and I said "Well, I have lots: cats, dogs, birds, horses, and blowfish". He looked overwhelmed. He was going to try and remember them all. Well, he sure did because my paper bag puppet was a cat/dog/bird/horse/blowfish hybrid, with obvious detail for every species. He had gone home and worked for hours. The puppet is at my mom's house but I will post a picture soon :) Below is the second gift, from his father. I've taken out names for privacy purposes. He sent a letter to my principal and copied me on it.
(For the record, it mentions that I may not return to my school next year. The deal is this: I am the lowest man on the totem pole, so to speak, so if a certain number of kindergartners do not register and show up by Day Five of school in the fall, then my "unit" will be cut. I will indeed have to leave my school, which I really don't want to do. But the one upside is that I am now a permanent employee in the county, and I will be placed in a pool, where I can pick up another job opening at another school. So while my future lies in wait for now, I am guaranteed a teaching position in the fall and am more than willing to go with that flow :)
My name is D.G. and my son E.G. has just completed his first year at Lanier. It has been a wonderful year and I thoroughly enjoyed watching my son make great strides academically and socially. He started out the year a shy unsure boy and has now found a sense of confidence and pride in himself. The reason that i have taken the time to relay this to you is because I contribute this to his two wonderful teachers Mrs. G. and Ms. Cook. My son loved his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. G. right off the bat, and she worked really well with him. then shortly after he spoke of a new teacher, Ms. Cook and since then that has been the focus of his daily reports. With the introduction of Ms. Cook to his class, I notice that my son was truly starting to flourish. His teachers show interest in not only his school work, but his fascination with art and even his Garbage Pail Kids collection. It is those little things that define a teacher. We are a very close family and our son is our life. We are very skeptical of the people in his life. These two wonderful teachers put all of our nerves at ease and have built a sense of trust with our family. At the PTA meeting, when they ended the performance by singing you are my sunshine to the kids, it almost moved us to tears. To know that they do this every afternoon showed how much they truly love their children, my child.
It has recently come to my attention that Ms. Cook may not be back next year. I believe that would be a great injustice and loss for your school. She is a great teacher and has a way of getting through to her children. My wife and I know that we do not have any bearing on whether she stays or goes. I myself work in a seniority based job, and understand the circumstances. However, we believe that if we didn't at least try and let you know what a loss she would be, that we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves. With more teachers like Ms. Cook, who actually care for the children she teaches, I believe that A+ standards could be met. I hope that all is being done to retain her at Lanier. I appreciate the time that you have taken to read this letter, and thank you for giving my son a super year.
D and C G.
**Ok back to Pea here. While I love this student to death and am so proud to have been his teacher, I feel I can take little credit. This boy is so amazing: I couldn't teach him as fast as he was learning. He devoured all sorts of knowledge, especially books, and I felt he was always one step in front of me. He is going into first grade reading at a beginning third-grade reading level. How awesome is that!!
Until next time