Monday, March 7, 2011


Buddy's 1st grade teacher had a baby the second week of school. So he had a substitute the first 5 months of school. The sub has been phenomenal.  She has the perfect personality to teach Buddy.  She is sassy and has a ton of energy.  She's really funny and knows what kids like.  She has high academic standards.  She is also not afraid to call or email me when Buddy acts up or does good at school.  And most importantly, she's taken an interest in the kids, even though she was the sub.  I really like that about her. 

Buddy loved all these things about her too.  He really responded to her re-directing him and considered her a great friend.  At Christmas he agonized over what to give her.  Eventually, he picked out two of his favorite rocks from his collection and wrapped them up for her.  She responded with a sincere thank you note telling him how much she and her boys love rocks -- sent to our home during Christmas break. 

So we all stressed about the "real" teacher coming back.  A couple weeks before she came back we received a note from the principal that the real teacher and the sub had worked out a job-share sort of arrangement.  I was so happy and Buddy was overjoyed.  The real teacher would take Mondays and Tuesdays and the sub would take Thursdays and Fridays and they'd trade off on Wednesdays.

Except it turned out, Buddy didn't like the real teacher.  He would huff and puff every morning that she was going to teach and then come home in a bad mood those days.  I only had met her once, and I wasn't impressed.  She seemed like a great teacher and had an excellent handle on the class.  She has experience teaching, but she was an awkward fit for Buddy.  She's soft spoken and sings songs to motivate the kids.  He hates singing.  She expects good listening and being quiet and showing respect at all times and he is physically incapable of keeping his mouth shut.  It's never going to happen and her repeated sending him to his desk to put his head down was NOT working. 

After a good month, he started saying he didn't like her and he was sure she didn't like him.  So I sent her a friendly email last week expressing my concerns about him (not her) and asking her for the real story on his behavior.

She emailed me immediately requesting a phone call.

To summarize the phone call... it couldn't have gone better.  Apparently she loves him and there are absolutely no behavior problems.  I was shocked at how helpful she was in explaining how things have really been going at school.  She never once got defensive.  She gave me plenty of time to talk.  She also expressed sincere desire to get to know him better so he could trust her, like he does the sub.  We formulated a secret code she'll give him when he's talking too much, to spare him the embarrassment of putting his head down at his seat.  She asked if he'd like to meet her baby, and we arranged to meet her in the hall after their music concert next week so he can hold her baby.  And last, she said she wanted to let him borrow her favorite book of all time, "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" so they could talk about it and share something special, just the two of them.

I was floored at her willingness to care about my boy.

You should have seen him when he came home today.  She had lent him the book all wrapped up like a little present with a note.  He said, "You should have seen how nice she was to me today!  She brought me a present.  For me and no one else!  She does like me.  You were right!" 

He said she didn't even have to use the secret code to remind him to be quiet because he was so happy that she likes him.  

If we had stayed in our old house he would have gone to a different school.  I hear wonderful things about that school too.  But this is where he belongs.  He needs these specific teachers.  I am so impressed -- and thankful.

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And I am also so proud -- and thankful -- to be part of the BYU alumni this week.  I love that fame, money, prestige, convenience, pride, and sex all are secondary to honor at BYU.  I know it's cliche to say, but everything good I have came because I went to BYU.  Everything. 

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