When I was a kid I loved the last week because it meant soon I'd be sleeping late and swimming all day.
When I was a teacher I loved the last week because I was ready for rest, yet I cried every year because I hated sending my kids, my part-time babies, on to someone else. It never seemed right.
As a mom, I love the last week because I can ditch the drop-off duty for a couple months, but I think I cry more than my child because I now hate leaving the teacher.
Here is Jacob with his teacher. I love her. She has been such a blessing to Jacob. I don't think I could've
She truly loves Jacob. She gets him. Kids bother him, she takes care of it. If it's his fault, she calls him on it. She listens to him, takes him seriously, helps when she has to, and teaches him how to help himself because she knows she won't be there next year to do it.
We have had many two-hour conferences where I have cried in frustration, cried in celebration, cried in confusion of what my child's future may be. Every time she was ready with tissues, books, positive words, and the shoulder of one whose walked it before me.
Mrs. Kilian was more than a teacher to my son. She was his restorer of good faith, his confidence in the good in people,and the other woman he trusted to take care of him while he was away from home.
Last summer I prayed every night that third grade would be better for Jacob. I was so conflicted about sending him back to a place he'd been terr*rized for two years. Should I keep him home? Find another school? Take us all into a hole and hide? I asked for a sign to let me know he was in the right place. I wasn't getting a sign. Every day I waited for the answers to my prayers and every day I was sure I was never getting one. The day before school started, Jacob and I both cried all the way to that school. I wanted to turn and run with him but I knew I couldn't. If I was to teach him to face my fears, I had to do it too, so up the stairs we slowly trod like we were walking the green mile to our certain doom.
Twenty minutes later I realized my prayers had been answered.
There was my sign.
Her classroom philosophy, she explained, was to emphasize each child's differences and celebrate what each person can bring to their little class family. Every year was a new beginning and each student had the opportunity to grow and learn and change. She also told Jacob if someone wanted to bully him, they'd have to go through her first.
I slept good that night.
Jacob smiled going to school the next day for the first time in a long time.
Jacob didn't instantly become Mr. Popular and Mrs. Kilian didn't exalt him to fully mature nine year old, but she did teach him how to stand up for himself and how not to get in those situations in the first place. She drew from his strengths and tried to downplay his not-so-strengths. She loves him and he loves her.
There will be tears tomorrow. The teacher is leaving her part-time baby again.
Third grade was a good year. It'll be hard to top.