parents

"I am saying goodbye to the woman who has changed my son's life."

Do you remember your first teacher?

This year, a woman transformed my son’s life. And it wasn’t me.

This woman probably doesn’t get the thanks she deserves, but she gets a lot of hugs.

Next year, she will probably do the same for another child.

And it’s perfectly possible that she may never know just how much she has done for one small six-year old boy.

Do they know how much they do for us?

Tomorrow, my son says good-bye to the teacher who has taught him for his first-ever year of school.

Hopefully, she will see him around for the next few years, but one day, she will become a name he has to reach back to remember, just a faint memory layered with so many other teachers who are yet to touch his life.

But she has already crafted the person he will be.

Just 10 months ago, my son was a shy frightened five-year-old. In his too-long pants with his too-short newly cut hair,  he trudged off ready to embark on an adventure. His anxiety was palatable. He stared at the ground and chewed his nails. He held his breath and he refused to look up.

Each morning the reaction would be the same.

He would dig his nails into my hand as we walked to school, his grip getting tighter, and he wouldn’t let go until his teacher prized him off me.

Big, fat warm tears would roll down his face and his arms would reach out to me as I walked away.

Don’t leave me here.

But there he would stay, entrusted to the care of a woman I had only just met.

A teacher who gave his children the gift of a compliment saw his work go viral. Post continues after video…

Video via Inside Edition

Do you give much thought to the teachers you have had in your life?

The ones who taught you to read, the ones who gave you your love of books, the ones who stayed up late into the night carefully cutting out paper hats for 25 students to decorate at Easter? The one who sewed 25 advent calendars for their students to count down the days for Christmas?

The ones who stay late into the night preparing the classroom for the next day, marking books, organising materials, soothing worried parents.

The ones who spend the weekends preparing so that their students can get the best out of their time at school.

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When I was young, I had a teacher who brought in a cricket bat in summer and the kids who finished their maths first could have a bat and bowl in the hallway.

There was another who would sit with me, encouraging me to write stories, telling me that an imagination was a gift, filling me with a love of writing. I had a teacher who gave each of us in 6th grade a roll-on deodorant as a farewell gift to wish us well on the next phase of our lives showing us that we were growing up now.

Welcoming us to our lives ahead. (And no doubt doing the teachers in Year 7 a big favour!)

And then there is the one who gave a six-year old boy the confidence to say good-bye to his mama in the morning because learning could actually be fun.

Some teachers might have 400 students pass through their lives over their career, to each one they invest their heart and to each one they give a gift – an education.

Shauna and boys
And then there is the one who gave a six-year old boy the confidence to say good-bye to his mama. Image: Supplied

I’m sad to say good-bye to my son’s teacher this year.

I’m sad to say good-bye to the woman who taught my son to read, to stand with confidence in front of a group of 20 peers and talk without shaking. I’m sad to say good-bye to the woman who transformed a shy, anxious, friendless little boy into a happy, popular kid who looks forward to going to school each day.

As the school year comes to an end, so does their relationship. I know it’s time, but it’s surprisingly bittersweet.

To each and every teacher embarking on these goodbyes, I want you to know how much we appreciate you.

Thank you for moulding us and helping us. Thank-you for supporting us and cheering us. Thank you for guiding us.

And thank you for loving my son. May the next one be as great as you.

What would you like to say to your child’s teacher?

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