My twins just began their last week at the school they have attended for the past four years. We’ve moved into a new district, and have to say goodbye to the sweet little school that has felt like home since my oldest child’s first day of kindergarten. The change is both exciting and bittersweet. It’s so hard to find the words to say thank you to the amazing people who have meant so much to us; from the principals, secretaries, amazing teachers, and para-pros, all the way to the kind custodian who high-fives each child as they put up their lunch trays.
But the person to whom we owe the biggest thank you is my sons’ special education teacher. My boys have ADHD and learning delays, and their special education teacher has been with them through two rounds of kindergarten all the way to second grade. She is enthusiastic, kind, and loving, and we will miss her beyond words. Here’s what I want her to know.
Thank you for every single IEP meeting.
Boy, we’ve spent hours around that conference table. We have laughed, cried a little, and worked tirelessly to create a plan that helps those two little boys succeed. You have been their champion and advocate as much as I have, and I can’t imagine going through this process in the future without you. I know teachers are slightly filled with dread when it’s time for another endless round of IEP meetings, but you’ve always made them positive and encouraging, and I’ve left every one feeling incredibly proud of my kids’ achievements and hopeful for their future.
I think you might actually be Wonder Woman.
Twenty minutes of homework often makes me want to run away from home and join the circus, but you do this ALL DAY!! Not only do you deal with my kids’ stalling and whining, you’ve got a class full of other kids doing the same thing. And yet, you keep going with a smile on your face. I don’t know where you find your endless reserves of patience, or how you stay so adorably perky, but I’m in awe of it. If you don’t already have a superhero cape and a tiara in your supply closet, you deserve one.
Thank you for believing in my kids.
Honestly, sometimes you’ve believed in them more than I did! You saw that they were often capable of doing better, and you would create a learning plan, or a reward system, or any number of things to help them reach their full potential. And I’ll admit, there were times when I thought, “He can’t do that! That will never work!” But I was wrong, and you were right. And I’m awfully glad that I trusted you.
I’m not convinced that you sleep.
I regularly get emails from you at 9:00 at night, or at 10:30 on a Saturday morning. Please know that I notice those time stamps, and I am overcome with gratitude. The fact that you are spending your own time thinking about the great week my son had, or worrying about why he struggled, shows a level of caring and dedication that I would never have expected, but I appreciate more than I can tell you.
Thank you for loving them.
I know teachers care about their students, but I truly believe that the bond we’ve formed over the years is special. You have shown me every week, with every folder overflowing with work covered in encouraging comments, with every note and phone call home, with every time you’ve stopped me in the hall to share a funny anecdote, that you love them. And I believe that you have played a huge role in every achievement they’ve made over the last four years. You’ve taught them to read, and you’ve taught them math, but more than that, you’ve taught them to have confidence and to believe in themselves. I know they will have wonderful teachers, but there will never be anyone like you.