08 June 2014

My Son's Last Year of Elementary School Was His Best Year

My ten-year-old son finished elementary school on Friday, and I can say without a doubt this was his best year ever.  He would agree that it was his best year because he loved his teacher.  She was inspiring and effective. She believed in him, and she helped him hone his natural leadership skills. She had high expectations and considered herself a co-learner in the classroom.

I think it's true that different children bond differently with different teachers, and for Isaac, Mrs. White was a perfect match.  As a parent who has struggled to understand many elementary teachers' points of view and rigid approaches over the years, I will say that this teacher was a good fit for me as well.  I didn't feel like I needed to ask a million questions because she communicated well in advance and was flexible and understanding of parents with busy schedules. For example, she didn't punish my son if I forgot to initial his planner one night, and she gladly sent home an additional field trip permission slip when I inadvertently lost the first one.  More importantly, she also assigned meaningful work (not word search worksheets) and met the individual learning needs of her students. The thing I most appreciated about her though was that she emobdied the traits of a life-long learner and was eager to learn alongside her students.

When I asked Isaac what he liked best about Mrs. White he said that she didn't make him sit still for long periods of time, and she designed active learning opportunities. He also said she was nice and frequently asked him about his interests. Since Isaac has strong interests in history, he always loved it and felt special when he shared his Abraham Lincoln movie and books with her, and she borrowed them to learn more.

Isaac leaves a note for Mrs. White

As we conclude our days as parents of an elementary school aged child, I am mourning the end of young childhood years when my children needed me more. I am grateful to the amazing Mrs. White for helping us end these elementary years on a positive note.

Isaac with his favorite teacher, Mrs. White

The day of 5th grade graduation (technically called a promotion ceremony), we waited behind multiple other students and their parents for students to have their picture made with Mrs. White. She clearly cared for each of her students and made a positive mark on their young lives.