Tomorrow is Owen's last day of school and I'm pretty bummed about it. His teacher has been an absolute dream and while I know that's almost setting me up for failure as far as what to expect, I hope that they're all like that and if they aren't, I have the knowledge that they should be which may change my reaction to poor teaching, not that I wouldn't have been vocal about it before. At least now I'm secure in the knowledge that there really are good teachers out there who care about your children and want them to succeed.
Because I am the first one to bitch when things don't go as they should, I should also be the first to praise people when they deserve it. I'm not the most uplifting person as I don't need praise myself so I forget sometimes to give people a pat on the back but when you are this good to my children, it is impossible for me to forget you. I wrote this letter that I will be giving to the Principal at my son's school in the morning when I drop the goodies off for his last day party. I just wanted Mrs. Jean to know that the things she has done for my son and my family did not go unnoticed and are greatly appreciated.
What a leap of faith it is to send your child who has been three all of two weeks to school five days a week, and on a school bus no less. I had many concerns when I agreed to Owen going to school five days a week and fought against it at first as I thought it was just too much. He is picked up on a bus at 9 AM and dropped off again at 12:30 PM. I think that is a lot for a three year old but my son doesn’t seem to think so. When he sees the bus coming up the street in the morning, he jumps and screams with excitement as he runs down the stairs. When he gets off again in the afternoon, he waves at the bus until it is out of sight and then does a lap around the yard with his backpack strapped to his back unable to contain his excitement.
Before Owen was enrolled in Mrs. Jean’s class, we didn’t really have conversations. I’d ask him questions and he’d answer but not always in a way that I could understand. I’d had no luck teaching him colors and while he could recite the alphabet and count to 10, I couldn’t get him to understand how to use them. The first week Owen was with Mrs. Jean and her assistants he came home from school and told me that not only were there four strawberries on his plate, but that they were red! That is a huge thing for us!
Owen has learned so much from Mrs. Jean, Bobby and Ashton and talks about them as well as his media and PE teachers constantly. Antwon, Cadence, Matthew, Andrew, Mark and James Jefferson have become a part of our daily conversations and have helped open Owen up to a world of discussions that before, we just didn’t have.
Everyone has a teacher in their past that they adore and hold above all others. I have one of my own from high school that taught me much more than what was in the curriculum and I think of him often and compared all other teachers to him when I was in school. Mrs. Jean is Owen’s first of many teachers that he will have while he is in school and for me the rest of them have a lot to live up to. She has been so kind and patient with him and taught him more at the age of three than I thought he was capable of learning. When he gets off the bus, he has a happy face on his hand, a smile on his face and a song in his soul. It is the happiest I’ve ever seen him and I know that she as well as the others are a really big part of that. The things that he has learned are mind blowing and will take him into summer session and back to school next year where he will continue to grow. While I wish Mrs. Jean good luck and success in her new job, we will miss her. I’ve tried to make Owen understand that he won’t be seeing his friends or Mrs. Jean anymore but I’m not sure he will understand until they’re all just gone, but I know he will remember them well and talk of them often.
I write this letter because when you’re the first one to complain when things go wrong, you should also be the first one to thank people who work hard and go out of their way to do right by your children. Mrs. Jean is an excellent teacher and I’m sad that Owen will no longer be in her class. While I know she has many students and is very busy, she never made me feel unwelcome with my questions or concerns for Owen. I had concerns that because he wasn’t the most vocal kid, he would get left behind or fall through the cracks of a busy classroom and more needy children that needed more attention. I never once felt like Owen got left behind or wasn’t included. Tomorrow is Owen’s last day of school and I know I will cry as I did the first day I dropped him off, but for completely different reasons.
I know complaints follow you and I think praise should as well. Please make sure this get to the people she has and will be working for. I want them to know that Mrs. Jean is the reason that teachers should be paid more annually and the reason that kids who may start out with a strike against them can go on to achieve great things.