This is a story of a teacher who went above and beyond to make children feel included and respected. It’s a story that probably happens over and over again in our schools in different ways, and most of the time it never gets recognition or told outside of school walls.
May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week. And I’m getting an early start appreciating a teacher who went the extra mile for a few students in her class – and made a world of difference. She happens to be my daughter, who attends a Champaign Unit 4 Schools elementary.
Allow me to explain.
The other day I got an email from my daughter’s first grade teacher. Among other topics she asked me if it was OK for S to have a graham cracker this week as she wanted to do a special math lesson on fractions.
Of course graham crackers are a pretty popular treat for kids, and my child thankfully doesn’t have any food allergies or restrictions. But last week was Passover, and our family observes the holiday by not eating leavened bread and assorted products for the weeklong festival. I was touched that she even asked if this was OK.
I told her I would send S with something else for the lesson, as I didn’t want to disrupt her plans.
She responded: “As for the graham crackers – I will save the lesson for a later date or find something else that all the students can have. Thanks for letting me know! ”
I thought that was the end of it.
A few days later, S came home excited to tell me about her math lesson. Ms. G. had indeed found something all the kids could have: matzah, the unleavened “bread” we eat during Passover.
The lesson took place, and every child got to taste some matzah (not surprisingly, there were mixed reactions.) S even got to tell her friends about the holiday and why we eat matzah.
When S came home and told us this story, I got a little misty (is there an onion in here?). My child has a teacher who values her students and their families, going out of her way to make them feel welcome and comfortable. How lucky are we?
This is one of the reasons I am proud to be part of a school in a district (Champaign Unit 4 Schools) that values inclusion and diversity as part of the educational process — and has teachers who are thoughtful and creative.
Before she went to bed, I asked S how the matzah math lesson made her feel. Judging by her excitement in telling us, I wasn’t surprised by her one-word answer:
That says it all.
Do you know of a teacher who should be extra appreciated? Tell us YOUR STORY, and it might appear on chambanamoms.com. No more than 100 words, please. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, May 5 for consideration.