Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Which Connor Gets A Letter In The Mail

Last week, Connor got a letter in the mail.

It read:

"Dear Connor,
     I just want to tell you how much I admire your incredible spirit and your ongoing courage.  You always do your best at school and always with such a great attitude!  I am so proud of you!!
                                                                                       Love, Miss Janet"

Who is Miss Janet, you might ask?  Miss Janet is only the best preschool teacher in the entire universe.

Many of us probably remember one teacher who really sparked a love of learning, who made going to school fun and radiated the kind of enthusiasm and love that kids can't help but respond to.  Mine was my kindergarten teacher (Miss Sidweber, if you're out there, you are amazing).   Miss Janet is that kind of teacher.  Connor has had her for three years now and I think she's a huge reason why he gets so excited every morning when it's time to go to school.  You all know me and that I'm just slightly paranoid about letting my kid out of my sight, but from day one I've been able to walk away from Miss Janet's classroom knowing I've left him in the best of hands.

We haven't made it easy on Miss Janet in the past few years; there have been a few ambulance calls, lots and lots of absences due to various health-related issues, and the unique challenges of teaching a child with Connor's combination of extremely easygoing personality (read: difficult to motivate), communication challenges and physical special needs.  Not to mention that she has to deal with me, the ultimate helicopter parent.  She's handled it all with grace, and I think many of the strides Connor has made in the past few years can be directly attributed to her and her amazing team of paraeducators and therapists.  She pushes him to make new strides and manages to make things fun while she's at it. 

And I've never heard her complain about having a bad day or about any of the kids-- she showers them all with compassion and challenges them to do their very best.  I've seen kids who had to be carried screaming into the room at the beginning of the year blossom so that by the end of the year they are all smiles when they get to school.  It's obvious that the kids, no matter their developmental level, realize that Miss Janet's classroom is a safe place where people love them and will help them grow.

He'll be graduating from her class this year and heading on to first grade at a new school, and I desperately want to stuff her and her phenomenal team in a suitcase and take them with us.  Or if that won't work, maybe we can clone them all.  I'm sure the rest of his graduating class would probably like their own personal Miss Janet to take with them too.

Seriously, everyone needs a Miss Janet.  She takes the time (sometimes well into her lunch break, as I am a Slightly Needy Parent) to let me know how Connor did in school every day.  She and her team have come to our house to have meetings with us about his care.  She sends him personal letters in the mail telling him how proud she is of him, for pete's sake.  You can't get much better than that. 

So Connor and I read his letter and after I pulled myself together ("Mommy's not crying Connor-- my eyes are leaking") we put it up together on Connor's bulletin board where we hang all of his important artwork and awards and whatnot.  It's hung at wheelchair level so Connor can see it and we read it often.  He always smiles when we get to the part where she tells him how proud she is of him, and asks to hear it over and over again.

We're going to miss her so much.



Julia O'C said...

Connor is a lucky kid to have a teacher like Miss Janet.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

That is breaking my heart in all kinds of good ways. Hurray for Miss Janet :D

Principal Mr. Malone said...

Thanks for sharing!

Gene Sharratt said...

What a tribute to someone so deserving of a tribute, Miss Janet! Teachers do, indeed, touch the future. Hope is alive and well in Miss Janet's classroom

Gene Sharratt

Blog Directory