Teacher Love

In April when my girl-mom friend Lisa told me the graduation announcements had been delivered, I got that boy-mom gut-panic feelin’ again. Considering the fact that one has to possess the translation skills of a CIA operative to decode snippets of messages from a male 18-year-old child, I am not sure why this continues to startle me.

For whatever reason last November I saved the yellow portion of the Josten’s triplicate receipt and sent the check and form order to school with Jack. After mining snipets of information from Jack’s text messages and a second clarifying phone call to Lisa, the coin finally dropped. The upshod: “When the lady was there delivering the graduation boxes (in April) I told her I probably had the order form in my back pack (from November) but she said it was too late.” Parenthetical details, mine. Bottom line was we had no graduation announcements.

I immediately called the Josten’s office here. I went on line and sent an email. I was frantic. Announcements are important but I was most fearful that we’d missed the window for ordering a commencement cap & gown. I Googled Party City + graduate costume just in case we had to go that route. I am not even kidding. The next day I received a call from the rep who confirmed that it was indeed too late to order custom announcements. He slipped in anecdotally that the only calls he receives between April and Graduation is from boy moms. He added that our school, to my relief, handles the caps and gowns.

I was upset because I struggle under the onerous misconception that everything matters equally. I feel like I am missing out when I fail to send a check for a fundraiser, T-shirt supporting some great cause or miss the chance to purchase a Class of 2017 ANYTHING. There is a little thing in my mind which taunts me with the thought of missing out. Even in my acute disorganization, I see every picture order form as a must, each senior moment as important and obsess because he is not prone to asking classmates to sign his yearbook. Jack never worries about missing out. On. Anything. So why would he worry if the Josten’s order form was caught up somewhere between the third Heaven and the organizational Hades of his F-250 cab?

Amazed at the need for the reminder, this maternal question accosted my teflon soul: “If he doesn’t care, WHY SHOULD I?” I have struggled to teach my son the virtue of useless anxiety but it simply refuses to take with that one. Aughhhh!  So after 12 hours of panic the solution was to merely go on line and select a graduation announcement. After looking on a few sites, I quickly found the card I liked. The graduation announcement had approximately 40 places for pictures and since this isn’t a People Magazine spread, I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have dedicated their lives to the teaching profession.

I asked Jack who his all-time favorite teachers were. He had to really think about this. This is the list of the best of the best: Ms. Davis (Kindergarten & 1st Grade, Lakeview El in Trophy Club, TX) Ms. Ashcraft (3rd & 5th, FBCS Shreveport, LA) Mr Walker (8th Grade History, CMM Shreveport) Ms Vigen (AP English 11th / 12th Loyola) and Mr. Vaughan (11th / 12th some advanced AP Science and they grow crazy 10-pound cabbages & stuff)

So I loaded up pictures of the “GOATS,” (greatest of all time) and in doing so felt so thankful for these men and women as well as for all teachers who have pulled out the best in my child. Ms. Davis who helped teach Jack to read when he was 5 made it possible for him to have Ms. Vigen in A.P. English Junior Year over a decade later. Ms. Ashcraft’s prayers, kindness and love for God’s Word earned her the moniker “My Rabbi,” from Jack. Mr. Walker’s love for History and no-nonsense ways readied him for the rigors of classes to come. Mr. Vaughan and Ms. Vigen both slogged through the onerous Texas Tech Honors College recommendation forms without which Jack would not be able to be a part of that program next year.

I am truly proud of my son. He has worked really hard and done well. I could not have gotten into, much less through his high school. I broke out in cold sweats at every back-to-school night when I saw everything each class would require. Thank God for genetic drift. Along with admiration for him, though, I hold a deep respect for those in the teaching profession. Those who are asked to compensate for the kids with no family support and be helicopter-parent swatters for the over-involved matriarchs. Educators are by and large patient souls who eat from a brown bag in under 22 minutes, see our children at their best and worst and in many cases still manage to impart a love of learning (or at least academic survival skills to carry them to next year’s challenges.)

Teachers: I love you people. You have made your life’s work inspiring kids not only to take tests but to learn to think. Like Lego architects, you build upon the work done before by last year’s engineers, identify vulnerable gaps and help children construct vital bridges of understanding. Here’s to you, teachers, you routinely buy paper and pencils for kids without physical supplies and often encourage those kids without emotional tools for life. You are increasingly being called upon to perform the job of referee, mentor, life coach and parent for those in your charge. It is an awesome responsibility.

Jack is beyond blessed to have learned under all the teachers in his K-12 adventure. Not every year was perfect, not every teacher was perfect but neither is any parent or child. I am just so grateful for the world of educators and I just had to stop by and tell you so. We celebrate our children at graduation and they never would have gotten to the finish line without you. Thank you.

As you reflect upon your life, reader, who are your GOATS?

3 thoughts on “Teacher Love

  1. My favorite teacher of all time was my junior English Lit teacher in high school, James DuPratt. I had always been an avid reader, but Mr. DuPratt taught me how to READ a story and see the themes, characters, and a plot in a whole new light. He cared about his students (Coach Keel reminds me of him) and really helped us with our writing skills; lessons I have carried with me throughout my life. Every year for our final project, he assigned a specific book for us to read and write about. Mine was “The Sound and The Fury.” I’ll never forget the pride I felt when he announced to the class that I was the only student who could tackle this challenging book. That feeling went away quickly once I started reading it, but I carried on to the end so that I wouldn’t disappoint him. Sadly, he passed away many years ago due to cancer and I never really got to tell him that he was my GOAT. Congratulations to Jack! I completely identify with your struggles as a boy mom.

  2. Thank you, Jinny. You have no idea what your words of love and support mean to teachers everywhere…including me.

  3. What a wonderful article! Thank you Jinny for your sweet words. All teachers need to hear things like this! Congratulations to Jack!

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