You speak of him as if he were your own child. You worry about him more than you do yourself. You wonder what he is doing when he is not with you.
He is just another student in you classroom. A student who has cursed you and swung at you and yet you draw closer to him each day. You wonder what upsets him and he even causes you to question yourself. As if you can heal nine years of sorrow.
In three short months he will move on and you will be given another group of students to nurture, to love, to guide. And yet, I think he will still be with you. Maybe not in your classroom. But with you. This still may not be enough for you.
What is it about this kid that is so different from all the ones who have come before him? He definitely has not made your life any easier. In fact, I think he has made it much more difficult. But you have made his better. And he knows it.
I hear his name in the morning before you go to school. I hear his name in the evening when you come home from school. Why do you worry so? There is only so much you can do in a year. In a month. In a day. But, you are not watching the clock because moments are where you shine.
When you were out sick for two weeks he was not the same. And neither were you. You returned one day to find this on your desk. The balloons. Very nice and appropriate. But the owl? His idea.
The fact that he chose to give you something that flies can not be a coincidence. Because this year you have taken him under your wing and you have kept him safe. You have made him a part of our family. He joined us for Easter Dinner and he comes over to our house and plays with our children. And they adore him. Why wouldn’t they? They see what he means to you and what you mean to him.
Our children have learned much this year from their teachers. Our three-year old has learned how to share and how to play well with others. Our eight year old has learned how to add by branching and how to craft written responses to nonfiction text.
But the most important lesson they learned this year did not come from their teacher. It came from their mother. They got to see firsthand what it means to love someone for what they can become and not for who they are or what they have been.
Our children are too young to know what they are witnessing. But I am not. And I look forward to seeing what they will become. I look forward to watching the seeds that you have planted in our children turn into caring, loving blossoms that will make those around them better. And when they are older people, may ask them why they care the way they do. They may not remember. But I will. And I will remind them. So that they can do the same for their children.
Thursday you said goodbye to your class. Friday you received your final evaluation. You did fine and nice words were written about you. But the words that meant the most came in the form of a text from his guardian.
“And he love being with an your family. I really appreciate you being in his life and guiding him in the right direction. If it wasn’t for a person like you that cared I don’t know where he would be. Because I know that no other teacher would have bent over backwards for him like you are doing. And everyday I thank you for this for being in his life an making a difference. He has his bad days but there are more good days than bad. Anything you do to help him is a very big help. His always talking about you. And I thank you so much.”
This was what mattered. This was your score. You won. And so did the rest of us that got to witness firsthand the way you brought him into our lives and changed them forever.