Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blessed to Know Her

This week out of the blue a former student of mine contacted me. She said she had been looking for me for years. She is one that I have thought about often and one that made me want to be a better teacher. Here is her story:

KB (for privacy reasons) stood out in my fourth grade class. Tall, dark haired, very shy, and a year older than everyone else KB struggled with school. She should have been in fifth grade but the year before in the middle of her original fourth grade year she was sent back to third grade and told by another teacher that she was stupid. This part angered me greatly. KB was a D and F student. This was not because she wasn't capable but because no one seemed to want to see her potential. We worked together to bring up her grades, technically she did the work and I had the fun job of praising her which came easy to such a sweet child. By the end of the year she was making D's and C's.

The following year I had the pleasure of teaching her fifth grade class. Excited with the possibilities of getting to teach her again I couldn't wait to see the results of her hard work mixed with encouragement. Before the year was out she was making B's and C's. Her doing, not mine.

In sixth grade she moved onto middle school. I was worried that her self esteem would fail her but instead she showed up in my room with an elite group of A & B students to share about middle school. I was beaming with pride.

This year she is a junior in high school, a Principal's honor roll student, taking honor's classes, and is a part of the A+ program. When she emailed me to let me know this and I was speechless.

When she found me she wrote to me the following:

I have been trying to find you forever and I am glad I did. I want to thank you for everything you did for me. I sure do miss you, You were/are the only teacher that meant so much to me. You really cared about us and you helped me in my dyslexia, shyness, and learning. You always had a hug and a smile for each of us. As you can see my spelling is getting better and my lexile reading score is the highest in my class. I think a lot of this is because of you.

This is a success story, her success, not mine. The system started to fail her at a young age and all I did was offer words of encouragement. I am the one that is blessed to know her.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Laughter Despite the Tears

Memories flood in as things fly off the table. This is what is happening as I help my aunt with her yard sale. She doesn't want to leave her nieces and nephews with the mess that our parents left us when they passed away. I personally appreciate the thought.

I feel like the lucky one of the nieces and nephews because I get to hear the family stories as items get set out on to the tables. Tears have been shed and laughter at the silly things that she, my other aunt, and my mom did as kids makes me smile. We both needed this...I needed this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Give Yourself Permission

Yesterday I went to my aunt's house to help her get ready for her yard sale next week. When I arrived there she was well on her way to organizing and going through items. I sat there watching her go through each box and give me an explanation of the contents and what was going to happen to them. Occasionally there was hesitation on an item and she would look at me, explain, and then ask what I thought. It was as though she was wanting permission to get rid of the item. You see a lot of the items were given by family members or had memories attached.

I understand this reaction quite well as I go through my own things for a yard sale. Things I love (or like) that were given to me or have a fond memory are hard to let go of but if I don't then my house becomes full and I feel like a hoarder. Like my aunt, I don't want to leave a mess behind for others to go through (my mama was like this) so we are going through and dispersing items that we don't use or need.

The hardest part of all of this is giving yourself permission to let go. I told my aunt its okay to give ourselves this permission to let go of the item but keep the memory attached. I have to admit I think she is much better at it than me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Heart is Full

As I reflect on yesterday memories have been added to my mind. The house was brimming with the people I love as we celebrated my husbands 40th birthday. We haven't had a big cookout since Labor Day (the last one before mama passed away) and hearing the talking and laughing made my heart burst with joy. Connections were made between family members and friendships forged even deeper making them part of the family.

Thank you Lord for reminding me that even in the dark times I am truly blessed with loved ones. Thank you for the joy and children's laughter as it rang through my house. Thank you for a loving husband and bless him with many more happy birthdays.

Thank you Lord because my heart is full.