Only twenty minutes left until the bell rings. We are outside on the “small playground” getting the kids ready for the bus. It is hot. Already at 85 degrees which is unusual for us this time of year. Everyone has had a long week. Students and teachers. Only twenty minutes to go. My phone rings. Quickly, I look at the number. It is a local number, yet one I do not recognize. I have a very unhealthy fear that at any given time Gracie will have a seizure, therefore, I always answer all local calls, because, you never know.
“Hello, is this Jennifer?”
“It is but you need to make it quick I am at work.”
“Oh yes, of course. This is “Jessica Smith” the principal at…”
“Oh, of course, I will always make time for you, is everything okay?”
“Yes, I just wanted to connect with you and thank you for the email….”
Immediately I knew the email she was referring to. I took a small, silent breath of relief, realizing that everything is okay with Gracie, and I listened.
The woman on the other end of the phone is a mother of two. One of her daughters also has autism. The woman, “Mis Smith” is also the principal at the middle school my children go to. It was only then I realized she called me from her personal cell, and not the school phone.
“I was so touched. It just meant so much to me. You have no idea and…and…”
And she starts to cry.
Teacher Appreciation Week was this week. It came pretty fast. I struggled to decide what I could do to show appreciation for my daughters’ teachers. I wanted to do something but was at a loss.
Two days ago it all came together. I picked three strong educators who I feel make an impact on my girls, and in a somewhat lengthy email, I let our Superintendent know just how much I appreciate these women. One Principal, One Sped teacher, and one Gen Ed Teacher.
Apparently, the Superintendent forwarded the email to the teachers/principal. Which brings us up to date. On the phone with the principal, listening to her cry, telling me how much she appreciated my email, well, you know me, I almost started crying!
I have years of experience as a parent volunteer seeing first hand how much teachers do. I can fill this post up with stories of how over the years my children’s teacher not only tutored my own children but me as well. I can tell you the countless times I have seen teachers use their own money to supply classroom supplies, or the times they stay up all night making Christmas treats for the kids, especially the kids who may not get anything else for Christmas.
For the last eight months, I now have the perspective of being a paid employee with my district. Guess what, the stories do not change. I see it every day, I see teachers go above and beyond. So, for me, sitting down for twenty minutes, penning a letter to our Superintendent, well, that was the least I could do.
And being on the other end of the phone, listening to the tears of appreciation, well, it just reinforced what I already knew.
Educators, they do not need much.
Just a little “thank you” every now and then.