30 Days of Thanks: Teachers are Heroes Among Us

30 Days of Thanks teachersUntil I was in college, school was easy for me. I didn’t have to work very hard to get good grades, and the only times I got detentions were for talking to my friends during class. So it came as a surprise when my two youngest kids started having trouble in school this year.

“Will had a bad day today,” said the email from my first-grade son’s teacher shortly after the school year began. I soon found out he was having a bad day nearly every day. He talked back to his teachers, refused to follow directions, cried when his team lost in gym class and walked around the room during music class. He’s always had a mind of his own, but this behavior was unexpected and unacceptable.

 I met with his teacher after school several times, and we came up with a simple reward system. I also took him to a therapist to see if he needs medication or another form of therapy. His teacher spoke with his therapist during her free time at school and completed a detailed questionnaire.

At the same time, my fourth-grader was struggling with problems of his own. He couldn’t make sense of what he was reading in his textbooks and was unable to work independently. He was also feeling sad and lonely because his best friend had switched to a new school this year. He doesn’t like to play sports, and all the other boys played kickball or football during recess, leaving him without any friends.

I contacted his teacher two weeks after school started to express my concerns. She told me that she and the other teachers in the intermediate unit were already aware of his struggles. They were spending extra time guiding Emmett through the directions for tests and giving him reminders to keep him on track. Together, we decided to start the lengthy process of having him evaluated for a learning disability. This meant documenting the issues and meeting with representatives from the school district several times before the school day started, plus keeping in touch with me on his progress. 

Our efforts have slowly started to pay off. Last week, they brought home their report cards, and Emmett has mostly B’s, a couple of A’s and only one C. He even started playing kickball at recess recently and has two new friends!

I credit his teacher for encouraging him and for pulling some of the boys aside and asking them to make him feel welcome.

Will is on track academically, and his behavior is starting to improve. He’s enjoying school more, and I haven’t had an email from his teacher telling me about a bad day in the past few weeks.

I am so grateful for the patience, kindness and support of my kids’ teachers during this very rough first quarter. Without the extra time they have spent, our kids might be headed down the wrong path. Instead, they’re back on track.

And that means everything to me.    

by Peggy Nolan on Mon, Nov 25 2013 6:16 am
Posted by Peggy Nolan on Mon, Nov 25 2013 6:16 amPeggy Nolan is a strategic communications technician at American Family Insurance.

1 Comment

Miri said on Nov 25, 2013
Thank you for the courage to share your story. I think many people can relate to this story and I think there is so much pressure to compare ourselves to others and tell everyone we have "great kids" or "well-behaved" kids. It sounds like you have great teachers and support! Your boys will surely thrive and do well!

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