Thursday, May 30, 2013
teachers change lives
our oldest child was born remarkable. he was the easiest baby i've ever known. my hubby and i raced each other to the crib each morning to pick him up and bring him to our bed where we'd lay him between us and marvel over this wondrous new life we'd been given. our eric was a peaceful, happy baby. i don't remember even once having to give him a swat on the bottom or a time out for being naughty. if he was ever frustrating us- just one look of disapproval and his little face would crumble. he was just a sweet loving child. three years later his little sister was born and he loved her so. from the first time he held her in the hospital he had her back. he was so gentle- he guided her and watched out for her and was so patient with "little sister's" antics. he just had such a big heart.
then he started school. his kindergarten teacher had her hands full. she was older and about one year from retirement. she had about 7 more kids in her class than usual. when i was in the class room she always seemed cranky. what i'd hoped would be a fabulous first year of school- out in the big scary world without me, did not turn out to be the experience i was praying for.
first grade came along and as a first time mother i just let the chips fall as they may and didn't realize that a lot of parents requested a teacher for their kids. i thought if you were a teacher- that you had to love kids and have their best interests at heart. boy was i wrong. that year his teacher was new in the school district. she wasn't a mother yet herself and she seemed completely overwhelmed with the whole situation. at conferences she did not have anything positive to say, and told us that eric talked too loud and insisted we have his hearing checked. strike one. (his hearing was okay).
2nd grade went a little better, but he began to lag a bit in his school work and we found out that eric was having vision problems. this meant months of eye doctors and therapy. while i don't remember his teacher that year being as negative- she sure as heck wasn't looking for the positive in my precious little boy either. all I wanted was for these people to see what was good and amazing about him- and to speak it out loud. i just wanted him to be encouraged! even though i may have been biased as his mother- ask anyone who knew him- he was a wonderful little boy. a great kid who'd always been so eager to please. i remember feeling so sad. so afraid that his tender spirit was being crushed.
by third grade i'd caught on to the way things worked for the benefit of your child and i requested a teacher. we lucked out and got mrs. cunniff. she was one of the good teachers- the ones who deserve teacher of the year. she did recognize all the wonderful ways that our boy shone. about half way through that year tho, she called me late one night, more as a friend than a teacher- and told me she thought maybe eric was having petit mal seizures. lars was in canada fishing and unavailable by phone and for 4 days i freaked out -scared to death and unsure of what to do now! i couldn't bear the thought of one more thing being wrong with my little boy. first hearing, then vision- and now seizures? a whole lot more tests were done and for a while he was on anti seizure meds and again school work was more of a challenge for him than most kids.
by 4th grade i had had it. i just wanted him to be happy! i just wanted his days at school to go smoothly and for him to feel good about himself. when we went to the open house i met his teacher, mrs. schnell. i remember thinking she wasn't real bubbly- she was quieter and more reserved than the teachers i was used to. i was nervous that she was going to be strict and all business. what i didn't know yet was that mrs. schnell was quietly and steadily going to change my sons life. she always saw the positives in him and was quick to point them out. i'll never forget going to conferences that year and hearing nothing but praise for our son. he heard it too. he heard it and it sunk in. i could not hold back my tears of gratitude. when we left those parent/teacher meetings eric held his head a little higher and by the end of that school year he was doing better in school! i truly believe that her belief in him made a huge difference in his life. we had always believed in him and saw his potential, but some of those early teachers had done a disturbing job of making him feel "less than".
darice cunniff and bonnie schnell saw the potential in my child. they focused on his potential and his strengths. they made a difference that i am thankful for to this day.
with this being the final week of school for so many children, i just want to encourage everyone to be thankful for the women and men who choose to teach and do it with love. i wish that every teacher was paid more and felt valued for what they are doing. maybe if they did they wouldn't burn out and become like some of the teachers my children had over the years. i worked as a para professional for one year. i saw firsthand the daily challenges a teacher faces.
my children are grown now and I don't have the anxiety of worrying about how their school year is going, but will you do this for me? if you have school age children will you take the time to write great teachers a note- tell them you APPRECIATE every big and little thing they have done to shape your young ones into the happy, productive children we are all trying to raise.
teachers have the ability to change lives-
THANK GOD FOR THE GREAT TEACHERS IN THE WORLD!!!
school's out for summer! let the fun begin!
i'm off to plant all kinds of zinnias~
* in my world zinnias = happiness