It’s Nice To Feel Appreciated

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and Target has already nixed those cards in preparation for Mother’s Day. Seriously. Why do they do that?! It’s okay to have Christmas decor out before Halloween is over, but it is apparently asking too much to be able to get a card for Teacher Appreciation Week the actual week it occurs. I guess I have no one to blame but myself for not “getting on that”.

I don’t actually need a special card to thank Harrison’s teachers. I am beyond thankful for them day after day. I gush about Harrison’s Montessori experience constantly, and I jump at any opportunity to tell my friends about his school. I talk about the classroom; how it’s set up and how beautiful the materials are. I talk about how I am in awe of the fact that a group of 25+ children 2 1/2 – 6 can coexist in this environment without constant intervention from adults. I talk a lot about how wonderful I think Montessori is, and I mention the teachers, but I don’t really hang on that point. It has nothing at all to do with me not appreciating what Harrison’s teachers do. I feel like it has more to do with me not being able to fully comprehend how they do what they do.

First, let me say that I have respect and appreciation for all (okay, most) teachers. And, I do not mean to say that unless a teacher is a Montessori teacher, I think they are any less of a teacher. It’s more that I know and understand my son, and I know that Montessori is for him. I also know that Montessori with the teachers he has is for him. My intrigue with Montessori started before I was even pregnant with Harrison. I worked with a little girl who attended a Montessori school in North Carolina, and I remember thinking to myself how impressed and amazed I was at what was happening around me while I was there. I talked to David about it that night, and I casually mentioned that I would consider Montessori for our child(ren).

Fast forward 4 1/2 years, and we were trying to decide what we wanted to do with Harrison. I thought about his personality, his skills, his needs, and I didn’t feel like traditional preschool was for him. I recalled a friend of mine telling me about her first son’s experience with traditional school, and how it wasn’t a fit for him. The things she talked about hearing from the teacher regarding her son reminded me so much of Harrison. She said that after that experience, she and her husband looked into Montessori, and they ultimately decided to enroll their son. He has flourished. I kept thinking about Harrison, and I thought back to the Montessori school I had been in. David and I had talked about options, and we decided to schedule some observations. Well, after visiting the school Harrison currently attends, we knew it was for him. Harrison knew, too.

I know I want to write more about Harrison’s experience (and ours) with Montessori, so I’ll direct this post back to being thankful for his teachers. Of course I am thankful for the work he does there and the”formal” lessons he receives, but I am mostly thankful for the person they are helping form. I am thankful that these women have opened my eyes to who my son is and his potential. I don’t mean I didn’t already have high hopes for him, but I mean his potential in this moment. I feel like it’s easy to just see what your child isn’t doing (not putting shoes on, not cleaning up toys) and to look past what they are doing (he got out napkins for everyone without being asked; he put away his brother’s toys). When I look at those things, I realize the potential in Harrison to be this kind, generous, loving person if I don’t constantly remind him of what he’s not doing and let him know I see what he is doing. I don’t know that I did enough of that before, and maybe other people don’t need someone else to help them to do that. I did. And I’m thankful Harrison has the type of teachers who helped me do that.

I’m thankful that Harrison’s teachers love him.  When Harrison needed a little more guidance to choose materials for work, his teacher would invite him to walk around the classroom and help him to choose something. When Harrison struggled to rest his body at nap time, his teachers would sit next to him and stroke his back, knowing that helped calm his body. I think Harrison tells them, but if not, he loves you, too. He talks about Miss Sarah’s beautiful hair or Miss Peggy’s pretty outfit. He always talks about them with such fondness, and he lights up when he mentions a time he was invited to help with something. And I really know he loves them because there have been multiple times, “Mommy” is the 3rd name that comes to mind when he starts to tell or ask me something.

There is so much I appreciate about Harrison’s teachers, but most importantly, I just appreciate the women they are. They are more than the training they have to be a Montessori instructor. To me, they are special people who are seeing my son’s potential everyday, and they are helping him grow and always better himself. And they have made me better (I think, anyway) in the process. Thank you.

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