Teachers are worth so much more than they are paid. They are worth millions and in the scheme of things, often priceless. Today as I watched my children prepare to go off to the Land of Knowledge, I thought about the public school teacher whose face would greet my little munchkins. Then I stopped and prayed for him and/or her. Sometimes I want to attach a note to their little bodies with big bold red letters saying, “May the Lord help you, my children are at school today.”
Are my children that bad you ponder? No, not really, but when there is a long weekend like this past weekend I often say, “Is it time for school yet? I now know why my mother was happy to send us off to school.” Again, I say teachers are priceless individuals. I have three children with varying learning styles (from the visual learner to the eidetic memory) and degrees of disability (ADD-Inattentive, Autism-mild to moderate, and Sheldon Cooper Syndrome, oops, Asperger’s and ADHD). I honestly could not imagine twenty to twenty six of my little munchkin’s in one closed in space. God Bless Public School Educators for the work that they do day in and day out.
Just so happens, my children happen to attend school in a great school district. My kids are in the best schools in the district (maybe I’m biased, I think I’m allowed to be), Riverview Elementary School and Fort Mill Middle School. My teachers go above and beyond to ensure that my children are successful. Which reminds me of my second grade teacher at Oakdale Elementary School, Ms. Paulette Hallman. Ms. Hallman is one of those teachers that I can thank for my creative flair. I remember a second grade writing assignment. I don’t know if she knew then, but I wrote a three-page paper about a Christmas tree, my Christmas tree, that did not exist. I can remember her words after reading this front and back, did I say three pages, manifesto. “You did such a wonderful job on your rough draft. Now let’s use our best handwriting and rewrite it.” I beamed with pride though I was slightly annoyed that I had to stay in from recess to finish part of it. I still got it done in my best handwriting. Later on just mere days after graduation, the day before I was to officially leave the nest for the Army, a card from Ms. Hallman was in my mailbox. She kept track of me and the writing I did for the local newspaper while I was in high school and still managed to think of me during one of the most important steps in my life, graduating from high school all those years later. I beamed with pride again that she could have taken her money to do something else with it, but she bought a card, wrote a message, and mailed it to me. What a gift!
I was always told that there are three types of teachers you will always remember, the one that made you think outside of the box, the one that gently pushed you when you needed a nudge, and the one that was tough on you because they knew your potential. Like Ms. Hallman, Ms. Bayne, and Mr. Mangum, still have those times tables memorized. Or Ms. Moore in 8th grade honors English who introduced me to Shakespeare or Mr. Phiefer whom taught me the importance of ALL of South Carolina’s history, the good and the bad. I will never forget Mrs. Krueger whom reminded me that a closed mind is like a closed book; knowledge cannot escape or enter. Or Mrs. Walters, my math teacher that helped me hate linear equations. Each teacher in their own way helped to shape us into the people we are today.
Now back to RVES and FMMS. We have teachers this year that get my kids. They understand them. That is priceless!! I can say the same for last year as well. Not many teachers remember that my son doesn’t like sliced cheese and will go above and beyond like Ms. Lawson to get him a hamburger so that he will be sure to eat. When a teacher takes her holiday to email you and let you know that if your child in middle school does not turn in his or her homework, she will email each parent to let him or her know, she is priceless. When a teacher sends you a note letting you know that your child had a hiccup in the day, but we got over it, that is priceless. Now yes, you may say that some educators do not do this and some do not need to teach, you are right about SOME, not all. Do not assume that one bad apple reflects the entire bunch. But I can say that I have never experienced that from my children’s teachers in the Fort Mill School District. The level of compassion and concern shown has often left me speechless and for those that know me personally, you know that this is hard to do.
So I say, Thank you to the Mrs. Chinchilla’s of the world that encourage teaching our kids to advocate for themselves in positive ways. Thanks to the Mrs. Sunni Walter’s of the world that are willing to chase down a special needs bus to give my girl her ADHD meds. Thank you to Mrs. Keever’s and Mr. Foxx’s of the world that teach our kids the love of music and to the Mrs. Grantham’s of the world that can turn a squeaking clarinet player into a beautiful musician. To the Mrs. Dwyer’s and the Mrs. Quinn’s of the world that deal with my son’s autism moment’s with such grace, to the Mrs. Elkin’s of the world that make our children accountable for their work, and last but not least to the Mrs. Wellons’ and Mrs. Turbeville’s of the world that teach our special babies, and of course the countless others that show our kids that they can be anything that they want to be, the sky is the limit, Thank You!
Now public educators has been painted as the Big Bad Wolf blowing down the straw and the house made of sticks and our children the collateral damage, I see differently. I see them as the third little pig with the house made of brick and no matter what happens, they always find a way to build a sturdy foundation to carry our kids on to the next grade. Public educators are Super Hero’s. You are my hero! Thank you for your time, effort, and energy even when you don’t feel appreciated, know that you are appreciated and I as well as other countless moms have your back because you are priceless!