I want to thank you for being Finn’s kindergarten teacher. When we got that letter in the mail telling us who his teacher was going to be I immediately started to worry. Would she be nice? Would Finn like her? Would she like him? And when I put him on the bus that first day I cried. I admit it, I bawled my eyes out. I partly blame the pregnancy hormones but mostly I was just sad. Sad that he was growing up so fast, sad that he would now spend the majority of his time during the week away from home, sad that I would miss him every day. I was scared that I was sending him to kindergarten too young, that everyone would be bigger than him, smarter than him, that he would get picked on and I wouldn’t be there to protect him. It was hard.
But, he came home that first day and he said how much he loved it. And he told me about you, and all the fun things you guys did. He talked about “filling buckets” and reading books and going to lunch. And then after a week he got off the bus and he called me “Mrs. Pierce”, we both laughed and I asked him if he ever called you “Mommy” by accident. He shrugged his shoulders a little and smiled, said that he did, that everyone did. And it hit me, YOU are their Mom Away From Mom. This first time stepping out all day, all alone, you are the one that wipes away their tears, tells them its okay if they wet their pants, make them feel okay if they are scared. And it’s a huge responsibility, because you didn’t do it just for Finn, you did it for all of his classmates. Every day. ALL OF THEM. At once. You deserve some sort of medal or monument in your honor.
What amazed me the most was how much he learned. How much I can actually see his progress. Last night I let him read the book before bedtime, and he read Frog and Toad. The entire thing. The only word he missed was “scratched”. I teared up, because here was this little boy who did not read at all when I put him on the bus that first day and could only write his name and now he reads, and writes, and knows so much. So so much more than I would have been able to teach him. He has changed, he has progressed, he has learned, he has grown so much, and I owe you a million thanks for being a huge part of that. If you think your influence is small you are wrong. The impact you have made on Finn will last a lifetime because you have started him off on a positive path of learning, of wanting to learn.
You took care of my little four year old turned five year old all year, and you did an amazing, incredible job. I wish we could have you for first grade. When I said in the beginning thank you for being Finn’s teacher what I should have said was just thank you for being a teacher. You were clearly made to do this job and you’re excellent at it. I wish they could all be like you, this family is going to miss you.