Friday, September 19, 2008

And then my heart burst right there in room 607...

Last night was open house at Bug's school. Being his first year at this school and in the gifted program I was a little unsure as to what to expect when I got there. I arrived right on time at 6:30 to find the door to the classroom locked and the inside dark. Luckily there was another mom outside who informed me it didn't start until 7:00. I'm sure that memo is at the bottom of Bug's backpack or perhaps floating around his school bus.

So I waited in the dense South Florida humidity with this other mom who was somewhat friendly but mostly busied herself with her cell phone. Still, I was thankful someone was nice to me.

At 6:45 another mom and her (very quiet) husband showed up. She obviously knew cell phone mom and they seemed very happy to see each other and instantly began asking how their kids were. Gossip about other moms, the gifted program at another elementary school, and past teachers ensued. I half-listened and half-wondered if all the parents would already know each other from having their kids in gifted since kindergarten and I would be somehow trying to join this elite gifted parents club without knowing all the rituals and jargon.

Luckily the classroom door opened and we were allowed in. Before we got all settled in, Bug's teacher pulled me aside and asked to speak with me privately.

Oh, no. I know Bug's been having problems getting his work done and she's going to tell me that maybe the gifted program isn't right for him and I'm going to have to put him back in regular school and he's going to suffer some incredible self-esteem problems because of it!

When we sat down in a darkened neighboring classroom, Mrs. Teacher's eyes started to well up. I sat there, horrified, wondering what she would say.

"I've been teaching for so many years, and every once in a while a child comes along that touches my heart in such a way that I can't explain it. I love your son. He is an amazing boy and he is so smart!"

I watched as tears spilled on to this woman's face. This woman who I have met quickly once before and who is having such strong emotions about my first born son.

"I know he is having problems finishing his work. He is always the last to finish and writing is hard for him. I asked him in the beginning of the year what other teachers did for him when he took so long to write and he told me..."

More tears.

"He told me that they just screamed at him."

This is right. His 1st and 2nd grade teachers both screamed at him and we had many a parent/teacher conference about Bug's inability to finish essays in a reasonable amount of time. It was incredibly frustrating and difficult for his teachers, Bug, and me.

"I promised him I would never scream at him. We will get through this. Bug is right where he should be."

I could have hugged that woman right there... and I'm not sure why I didn't, actually. I have never been so happy to have a teacher in my child's life. I feel like finally, my son who has struggled with school and who obviously thinks differently than most other kids and who shocks me with his verbal skills and analytical brain, he has found a safe place and a teacher that will do what needs to be done to help him.

Mr. Smarty Pants


Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

OK, now I'm crying. Thank God you found this school and this teacher. There is a special place in heaven for this woman.

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]

This is touching, poignant, and special. And now MY heart is bursting! You are so fortunate/lucky/blessed to have this teacher take such good care of him.
She gets my nomination for Teacher of the Year!

a Tonggu Momma said...[Reply to comment]

I'm coming out of lurkdom to say that I was blessed to have three teachers like this. They changed my world - I was always in the gifted program, but I also had some special needs (sensory processing disorder). It made life difficult for me, my momma and especially my teachers.

My three amazing teachers did SO much for me, I later became a teacher (although now I'm a SAHM). Your son will be blessed greatly this year!!! Enjoy it.

Mrs. Who said...[Reply to comment]

As a teacher/librarian, I have to say how thrilled I am that you found this wonderful teacher. I work with many like her!!

And have I already asked you if it is possible for him to do more writing on the computer? We do this for many of our students who have issues of some kind with writing.

Valarie said...[Reply to comment]

That is so awesome! It's very hard to find teachers that truly care that much. :)

Karen said...[Reply to comment]

You made me tear up too! Looks like it's going to be a great year for you!

mah-meeee said...[Reply to comment]

i teared up just reading your post.

yay for bug!

Robin said...[Reply to comment]

And my heart burst right along with it.

I had a moment like that when Maya started her kindergarten this year. It was like the clouds parted and the sun shone through, just to know that she was absolutely, positively, in the right place. I swear there must have been (Jewish atheist) angels singing somewhere...

Anonymous said...[Reply to comment]


the teachers can make or break a child.


NinjaPrincess said...[Reply to comment]

It's amazing how much power teachers have not only over the kids in their classrooms, but over us parents as well. Thank goodness for teachers who love what they do and love the kids they teach!!

Leanne said...[Reply to comment]

That's fantastic. I hear of so many people having a hard time with their kids teachers, it's nice to hear about one who obviously cares very much about the children. It sounds like her career is a hell of a lot more than a job to this woman.

He'll have agreat year.

sarah said...[Reply to comment]

Just wanted to let you know this post actually made me cry. I love this teacher!

carrie said...[Reply to comment]

Oh, I am so happy he is with a teacher that understands him and will teach him the way he needs. . . I cannot believe they'd be yelled at, that is unforgiveable!

He will soar, you just watch. He is gonna move mountains.

DysFUNctional Mom said...[Reply to comment]

Oh, wow! That is amazing.