September 1, 2011
This morning I spent some time swapping dressers, moving into our bedroom my parents’ old dressers and moving out the less lovely, less substantial dressers we’ve been using. Of course tucked away in the recesses of the dressers are all manner of odds and ends: needles, coins of various nations, odd screws, a Girl Scout pin, dog-eared photos, and bits of paper squirreled away for one reason or another.
In my mother’s dresser was a yellowed envelope addressed to “Mrs. Bennett.” In it was a note dated June 2 (no year) addressed to “Mrs. Bennett,” a name rarely used for my mom around the house. The note read:
We would like to thank you for the wonderful year Cathy has had. She has looked forward to each “school day” with great anticipation.
I especially like the loving atmosphere. You seem to treat each child with plent of TLC (tender, loving care) and patience. They have developed a loving atmosphere toward each other too — at least Cathy has!
May God be with you in whatever you do in the future. I thank Him for your work in the past.
Sincerely yours, [signature]
P.S. The coffee cake can be frozen. It is best eaten warm.
My mom taught nursery school for two decades. I am pretty sure that has something to do with all three of her children becoming educators. Her nursery school was in a church basement; I imagine she received this note and the coffee cake on the last day she taught nursery school, and saved this bit of appreciation in her dresser. I can imagine her pulling it out from time to time and reading it.
This is what all teachers want most, isn’t it? voiced appreciation. And we give them too little, don’t we? I’m struck that what this mom voices in appreciation about my mom’s teaching is the steady love my mom gave to each child in her care. And that’s what marks all great teachers, isn’t it, even the memorable stern and gruff ones who let you know they’re paying attention — and caring about — everything you do.
We need to tell our teachers how much we appreciate them.