When Avery was diagnosed near the end of my maternity leave, I gave up teaching in order to stay home with her. It was the right choice, but some days when I walk down the school corridor, as a parent, no longer a teacher, I feel a twinge of regret.
I miss my grade two classroom with its brightly coloured bulletin boards and pet Hermit Crabs. Wait, scratch that. I don’t miss the crabs. They were smelly. But I do miss my students and the funny things they’d say. Like the girl who went home after the first day of school and excitedly announced to her parents, “Mrs. Thornbury is nice and she has crabs.”
In retrospect, fish probably would have made a better class pet.
When my son entered grade two last fall, I felt oddly possessive. This was MY grade. What if I didn’t like the teacher? What if she wasn’t doing it right?? I feared I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from making comparisons. I imagined myself going all “Incredible Hulk”, turning green and shredding my pants out of anger and frustration, until I morphed into “that parent.” The know-it-all-in-your-face-pain-in-the-ass-parent.
For the first few weeks of school I played it cool. I casually asked my son about his new teacher. I eventually made comparisons as expected, but it was worse than I had feared. Mrs. Davis’ communication system, homework schedule, marking routine, etc. were much BETTER THAN MINE ever were! She was funny and sweet and my child adored her. He began to come out of his shell. He mimicked her expressions and started many of his sentences with, “Mrs. Davis says…”
This teacher, the one I worried I wouldn’t like, was amazing. My boy was loving school and learning so much and I couldn’t have been happier.
Avery starting Kindergarten this year was tough (for me, not her). Knowing Mrs. Davis had a watchful “mama eye” on my son made life much easier.
Karen, you are an outstanding teacher. I am so thankful my son got to experience grade two with YOU. Your brilliant humour (your notes home made me laugh out loud) and enormous heart make you the kind of teacher every child deserves. I respect and admire you so much and I apologize for ever thinking about going “Hulk” on you.
Thank you Mrs. Davis for making grade two so special!
As a token of my appreciation, I am sending you an aquarium stocked with Hermit Crabs to enjoy in your classroom. Kidding. How about you come for dinner and I’ll serve crab instead?