Adoption / Gratitude Project

For the Teachers Who Rock

Dear teachers who rock,

I come from a long line of excellent teachers who also rock(ed). My paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister. My maternal grandmother and aunt both taught high school English. My mom was a high school chemistry teacher. I remember spending summers up at school in her classroom, while she cleaned and organized. My sister and I would take turns being the teacher and pushing each other up and down the hallway in her desk chair. There was one memorable summer where we spent our days sitting on top of tables because the boa constrictor in Mr. Reeve’s animal room had escaped and we were sure that it was coming to get us.

I know what it takes to be in a classroom. I know the hours and money that you invest in making sure that your students have the best of the best, while you work for pennies and scant recognition. I know that you sit up late at night grading papers because you told the students they would be ready the next day. I know because I’ve lived with it most of my life.

I also know what it takes to remain patient and empathetic in a classroom full of squirmy kids. I had a two year stint in a one-room school and man, oh man, we had some rough days, even with just five students- days where I would come home and tell Alex, “Don’t touch me, don’t talk to me, don’t ask me any questions for at least two hours.” I had days where I would escape to the bathroom, just so I could breathe and compose myself. There were some days, man.

We got to meet our son’s teacher at the talent show last week. He had taken the photo book we sent to school and so she knew what we looked like. After he danced, she came over to tell me what an “awesome kid” he was. I started crying my tiny baby eyes out (for about the 60th time that day). After he came out, she gave him a high five and told him what a great job he did.

On Monday, I got permission to email her to see if she could give us some stuff that he needs to work on this summer. So I emailed her, expecting a pretty cut and dry list of skills that he needs to practice. What I got back from her on Monday night was basically an essay on how smart and special my son is.

Hi Mrs. Wise,

I am so excited to hear from you because {your son} is dear to my heart.  I have told him that God has a special family waiting just for him and when he shared with me the book you had made him, I knew that he had found his family.  Especially how “giddy” he acted as we looked at all the pictures. 

…(redacted)…

WOW!!!  I’m sorry for the book I just wrote!  I am so blessed to have had {your son} in my class this year.  I have learned a lot from him.  I also feel blessed to have been there when you all first met.  It was the best part of my whole school year.  To avoid sounding too sappy….. I’ll stop.  =o)   

-Mrs. P

    

This woman had my son placed in her classroom during a very tumultuous time in his life- a time where he probably felt unwanted and scared and unsure of his worth. She could have easily written him off as a behavior problem, but she didn’t. She stepped into the gap and held his hand. She told him that he was smart and good and well-behaved. She assured him that God loved him.

I know what you’re thinking. I’ve known my son for about 3 minutes and I’m already writing a sappy post about his teacher? Yes. YES. Because we are so thankful that he had people tell him the truth about himself when he needed it the most. Alot of the things he told us about himself this weekend mirrored positive things that were in this email, almost to the exact word. He’s been listening. His teacher built him up when he couldn’t do it himself. And she’s getting an ivy today from the Wise’s because the florist didn’t have any daisies in stock.

Teachers who rock, we know that your job is one of the hardest and most important ones out there.

This is a thank-you on behalf of all the kids that cling to your kind words like a life preserver because their lives outside of school are a sea of turmoil.
This is a thank-you for finding any excuse to praise, even if it’s, “Wow! You sure sharpened that pencil really well” or “Hey! You didn’t cut anyone’s hair today!” because that positive acknowledgement is living water to a tiny, parched soul.
This is a thank you for investing, year after year, in the lives of children who need you to believe in them so that they can believe in themselves. 
This is a thank you for sticking with it, even through the hard days (like…right before summer?), because you have a calling to change lives, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable.

Enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it.

We love you.

– Basically everyone in the entire world

4 thoughts on “For the Teachers Who Rock

  1. Beth, I have been catching up on your adoption journey since I’ve been off work on medical leave (I had major spinal surgery 2 weeks ago). It’s so exciting to watch you guys work toward your happy ending! I was struck by this post and inspired to comment because you were AMAZING in that one-room school full of traumatized children, and you made a huge difference in every one of their lives. One difficult part of working with this population is that the families move on after only a few weeks, so you invested so much time and energy and compassion into your work but you were not able to reap the rewards of building long-term, caring relationships with the kids and celebrating their successes while seeing real growth occur. But please know that you are often thought of fondly by my husband and me, and I am well aware of the amount of respect and admiration he has for you as well as how much he enjoyed working with you, since you are a lot of fun. I am looking forward to hosting you guys for dinner again once things settle down for you. And I will be following your blog as well!
    Love, Elizabeth B

    • Thanks for the kind words, Elizabeth. Carl is one of the teachers I’m referring to- he totally rocks! I look forward to seeing you guys soon. 🙂 PS- Hope you feel better quick!

  2. There are teachers everywhere you look. If you make people a priority, you can have an impact and change a small part of this world. I also see you as a teacher, Beth, in how you make foreign students, homeless and lost children as a priority This a a beautiful post. I love you so much.

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