“Look at what my teacher wrote,” were Dorothy’s first words as she came in from school on Valentine’s day. With her arms full of small valentine cards witht he latest cartoon heros and candy entincing her toddler brother’s chubby fingers she rushed to me where I was juggling a fussy baby, and trying to do dishes while making dinner at the same time. In the corner of my eye I saw a red paper heart that she was thrusting eagerly toward me.
I wanted to look at it, I really did, but we had company coming that night and I was up to one elbow in dishwater and the other in tomato sauce. And a frantic baby to boot. It was really rotten timing.
“I want to look at it, really I do Dot, but can you show me as soon as I am done here and sit down to feed the baby.”
She looked slightly dissapointed, but I could tell she understood. The problem was that we both forgot. A few days later my husband asked me if I read the Valentine the teacher gave Dorothy. I felt color and dismay flood my face as I realized I had forgotten all about it. “You really should read it,” he told me.
So, read it I did. I was expecting the usual trite “Happy Valentine’s Day. You’re a great kid,” kind of message. Not that the teacher wouldn’t take time to make it personal, I just know how busy teachers are. I think that is why I was so amazed as I read Dorothy’s valentine. It wasn’t a trite message. In fact it was a sweet, endearing, and acurate message allauding Dorothy for all of her good points. (this was especially great because Dorothy sometimes has a hard time making good choices and gets scolded rather often, so pointing out all the positive is HUGE) I was in awe. Not about the things that she had written, or that she had noticed these amazing qualities of Dorothy’s – I already knew that. I was in awe over the fact that a teacher who is incredibly busy took the time to write a personal and acurate message to my child. But, my awe didn’t stop there. I knew that she wouldn’t write such a message to only one child in the class, but that she would have painstakingly written a message to every child in her class – all 23 of them. That is a lot of hand written personal messages when you think about the time she would have poured into them with all the other things she has to do.
That means a lot to a parent. Especially this parent. It means that this teacher cares about her students as individuals and takes pains to let them know they are of value. I feel truly fortunate that our Dot has such an amazing teacher.
I took the time to read the valentine out loud with Dorothy and the glow on her face was as bright as the sun.