How do I thank a teacher?
It’s like saying thank you to a parent: there’s no way to adequately convey the depth of gratitude.
There’s just no way.
What I want to say is,
Thank you for loving my son this year.
Thank you for teaching him to write his name.
Thank you for teaching him to read a bedtime story.
Thank you for having grace to me, the former reading teacher, who has apparently no capacity to teach her son these skills.
Thank you for giving him a snack or a water bottle when I forgot to send them.
Thank you for never frowning at us when we were – yet again – late.
Thank you for teaching him that there are other authorities, that rules happen outside our home too, that some people out there have expectations that match his mother’s.
Thank you for your patience. With them, with me.
Thank you for your sensitivity to a boy without a dad,
a wife without her husband,
a family compass looking for its needle.
Thank you for sweet crafts, creative lessons, and gentle reminders.
Thank you for knowing that busy and loud don’t always mean naughty and mischievous.
Thank you for your keen eye that sees one child lagging behind while another one lurches ahead. Thank you for loving them both, the laggers and the lurchers.
Thank you for loving the ones who are mine.
For in loving them, you have loved me.
How do I say all of that, when the classroom is bustling with tassles and gowns, certificates and goody bags, cookies and punch?
How do I say all of that, when the teachers are swarmed with a million adoring children and even more enamored parents, all of whom are spilling with thanks we don’t know how to say?
How do I say all of that?
Instead, I hug her gently. I hold onto her elbows.
I say, “Thank you. You were just what we needed this year, in every single way.”