Friday, May 17, 2013

Future Leader

My daughter's teacher is leaving the school after just one year there.  It took me until almost the end of the year to realize how special she has become to our daughter.  It seemed that a lot of the school year, at least through the first few months, was spent handling discipline issues with other kids.  My daughter came home most days upset with how the day had gone, frustrated that her classmates wouldn't pay attention and that privileges got taken away from the whole class so much.  It frustrated me that our first grader already didn't like school.  I loved school at that age.

Then some change happened.  I'm not sure of the details, but it seems that our well-behaved, rule-following girl started getting special treatment in class.  She started hanging with her teacher during recess, the two of them creating their own games and language with each other.  Around this same time, our daughter took it upon herself to be a cafeteria helper, standing near the compost and trash at clean-up time to help the cafeteria workers.  Every Friday, they gave her a pencil for her help.  No one asked her to do this.  It's just a thing she started.

She also attached herself to the new assistant principal so much that she got the nickname "mini-me."  She'd see the assistant principal and grab her around the middle in a hug. 

Last night the school had a special event to celebrate cultures around the world, and while there, I found out that even more how close our daughter has gotten with her teacher.  They act like buddies who've always known each other.  There is a familiar ease between them.  It suddenly made me really sad that the year is ending, that our daughter will have to say goodbye to this special friend.

 One of the second grade teachers brings her puppy to school every day and lets the kids play with her during recess.  I found out yesterday that our daughter is the only one who has gotten to take her out for walks by herself.  It's another special privilege that has come with good behavior and helpfulness.  It was a huge secret so as not to make the other kids jealous.

It made me so happy.  I was the same kid, especially in middle school and high school.  There were a few administrators and teachers who took me under their wing and let me do things other kids didn't get to do.  They would pull me aside and say that I was 'special' or a 'leader' and then give me some task the others didn't get to do, one that came with responsibility.  It was incredibly formative for me to be trusted by a trusted adult at school, and I am thrilled that our daughter has already had this experience this year at school.

Her teacher sent me last night a photo of our daughter as she took the coveted puppy out for a run.  I am so thankful for teachers who bring puppies to school and for ones who trust my daughter with them.

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