I’ve heard that it’s appreciated when students come back later in life to express appreciation or gratitude for their teachers. I’ve personally had a couple of teachers in my own schooling career that left an incredible mark in my life, not just academically but for many personal reasons.
Perhaps one day my son will come to you and thank you for the time he’s spent in your classroom, but in case he doesn’t, I want to tell you this now:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lasting and profound impact you had on him. There aren’t enough words to accurately express the deep gratitude and respect that both my husband and I have for you along with the hard work you have done in these last 18 months for our son.
When my son was about to start preschool, before we knew the journey he’d take later in life, I worried constantly that the school system would squash his tender spirit. He was, even then, a thoughtful, reserved, sensitive and kind little boy. I was afraid that those things would be invisible to others or be seen as flaw rather than them being celebrated. Of course, I’m biased, but I feel so lucky and proud to be raising such an empathetic and emotionally aware son. The world, in my opinion, always needs more kindness, not less. He embodies kindness and love in such a way that has been healing to me for a variety of reasons, but gives me so much hope for the future.
When he came into your class, our life was a state of chaos. Before our eyes, the boy we knew was disappearing. We were doing everything in our power to help him, to give him the resources he needed, but the school piece was, for whatever reason, missing. Our choice to move him into your class came after weeks of discussion at home, and with much hesitation. Change is hard for him but we were desperate to find something that would bring him back.
You welcomed him, and us, into your classroom with a warmth and eagerness that was truly comforting. I could tell that you were willing to do the work along side us to help our son become successful, not only academically, but socially and emotionally. You invested in him; The level of dedication you had to him was refreshing. I know you’ll say that it’s part of your job, but you didn’t have to spend near as much time as you have, helping him. You certainly didn’t have to care for him the way you have but you did. Those things have been an elixir for him, a sort of magic for all of us.
The leaps and bounds he has taken this year and last are yours to celebrate. Of course, he has done so much of the work on his own with an incredible support system around him, but you helped to create an environment that he could confidently walk into every single morning, you encouraged him when he was falling short despite his hard work.
You had the sort of faith in him that every parent hopes their child will find in a teacher.
Thank you for being a willing participant in his journey. It hasn’t always been easy. Thank you for your patience with him and more importantly, with me. Thank you for taking your own time to not only discuss his struggles, but to truly understand them. Thank you for responding to my sometimes (almost always) long winded emails and taking your own time to speak with me on the phone or in person. Thank you for believing in him the same way that his Dad and I do. But most importantly, thank you a million times over for seeing him for who he is, for seeing the best in him even when he wasn’t at his best, for building his confidence, and helping him find success in school. You have helped to change his life.
You are most definitely leaving big shoes to fill, but I know that your retirement will be an exciting adventure. Enjoy your time with your family. And again, thank you so much for the love you have shown all of us. You will be missed.
Image Credit: Personal Creations