Thursday, June 7, 2012

Extraordinary People

It seems that along with all the knowledge and skills she picked up this
year, she also picked up a bit more "sass" - because she didn't have enough.
I would like to introduce you to some extraordinary people. If you've been reading my blog, you've met them before, but tonight I would like to focus my post on them, because frankly they should have some recognition and appreciation for what they do.

To begin, today was Abby's last day of school. As I waited for the bus to pull up I could scarcely believe how far we've come, and how fast the time has gone. She had a bit of a rocky start. As I lined her up for her "last day of school" picture I couldn't help but remember the call I got from Jason that first half day of school. Things did not go well at her first drop off, and Dad ended up leaving with her. But, she found her groove, mostly thanks to some really amazing people.

Mrs. Cathy

I have a high regard for any bus driver. I've always said that if we all had our own personal hells, mine would be an eternity on a bus, filled to bursting with a group of rowdy kids. This is one of the reasons I dread field trips. It would be so easy to be grouchy (I know I would be), especially when your route included some special little ones - who didn't always listen to directions or follow the rules of the road. The fact that Mrs. Cathy always greeted us with a smile and a happy "Good morning!" says a lot about who she is. I can only imagine how funny we would look to her as she drove up to our house and Abby and I would be dancing, playing the hokey-pokey, or doing something else totally kookie. I especially loved the days when she would continue what we'd started by dancing Abby back to her seat so she could be buckled in. 

Mrs. Cathy getting a nice big squeeze from
Abby. I love the looks on both of their faces.
In the afternoon I would always try to read Mrs. Cathy's face as her bus came to a stop in front of me. Was Abby cooperative or not, today? Even on the days when Abby got a "not so happy" report, we still ended on a good note. Abby always apologized, hugs were exchanged, and all was forgiven. I also loved the fact that as she waved good-bye Mrs. Cathy would throw out the reminder to, "Be good for Mama!" Yes, Mrs. Cathy is one special lady.

This morning as we approached the bus I knew that it would be a little difficult. I'd asked her earlier in the week if drivers got to keep their routes, and she let me know that it wasn't guaranteed - bummer. I know how attached you get to the kids you work with all year, it would be hard to know that I might never see them again. We both got a little teary as I expressed our thanks and she told me how wonderful Abby is (yet another reason she's a gem). We will be praying hard that she's the one driving the bus come the fall, and if I knew the number to call I would do all that I could to make sure of that - I'm not above begging!

Mrs. Davis

Mrs. Davis's "official" title is "Teacher Assistant", but really, I think it should be something like, "Chief of Child Deployment and Overseer of Student/Materials Interaction - Extraordinaire". I'm not sure the school will go for that, but they at least should tag an "Extraordinaire" onto her current title. If anyone knows how stubborn my little angel can be it is me, and so I have a high regard for anyone who can so successfully shift Abby from place to place and task to task - especially when the shift involves moving away from something she is enjoying, oh like say...recess? The fact that Abby would have a full-time aide with her (and her classmates) during lunch and recess was a big selling point when we chose the school for this year. See, Jason and I can be a bit protective of Abby, and the thought of her "on her own" during parts of the day was very scary to us. I know the kids at her school are always supervised, but they had yet to experience our little whirlwind, we just felt better knowing that Mrs. Davis would be there.

The best thing about Abby
cutting things is her mouth.
With each "chomp" of the
scissors, her mouth will
open and close - it's really cute!
I discovered as the year progressed that Mrs. Davis wasn't only invaluable for the supervision she provided during those travel and "free" times, but also for the valuable help and instruction she gave to Abby. There were so many times when I would pull something out of Abby's backpack after school and I would hear her say, "Mrs. Davis helped me!" Even tonight as I sat writing, Abby was stationed across from me, cutting pieces of paper into itty-bitty pieces, and periodically she would say, "For Mrs. Davis, Mom." I knew that she was telling me she wanted to show Mrs. Davis what a fine cutting job she was doing. I'm sure that she would be so thrilled with the confetti that Abby made tonight! Along with Abby's classroom teacher, Mrs. Davis taught Abby a wonderful foundation of facts and skills, as well as a measure of independence - and we are so grateful!

Mrs. Currie

When I think about all of Abby's teachers I marvel at how blessed we always are. Really, how can you keep getting gem after gem? I can't think of one that we weren't absolutely thrilled with, and this year was no different. When Abby's special education "team" recommended to us last year at this time to put Abby in a CI room (Which stands for Cognitively Impaired - a truly yucky name, for sure. I'd prefer something like, WJSGWNOOR "We're Just So Great We Need Our Own Room", but I'm sure that's a bit wordy - even for the politicians), I was very leery. I was absolutely convinced she needed to be in a general education classroom, and they were not going to convince me otherwise. I would NOT have my daughter shipped off to some room in the back of the building where she'd be kept until June. Luckily, Jason is very level-headed, and he convinced me that I should at least go look at the program they were suggesting. So, with my hackles firmly at attention I walked into the building and met up with the Teacher Consultant who would be showing me around. After a quick greeting she walked me down a short hallway and brought me into a bright classroom filled with all sorts of educational "goodies". I assumed she'd brought me to the kindergarten room - makes sense, show me the good part first, right? Well, kinda. She did show me the good part, but I was standing in the "CI" room. This looked a lot different than I'd imagined. 

After meeting Mrs. Currie I immediately knew this would be the place for Abby. I remember calling Jason on my way home and telling him, "Abby is going to fall in love with Mrs. Currie." And, I was right. She has such a gentle and calm way about her, as well as a happy twinkle in her eye. I wanted Abby to be in her sphere and that was that! 

As the year went on I learned more and more that Mrs. Currie wasn't just an excellent teacher, but that she was the perfect teacher for us. I say "us" because she didn't only have Abby to deal with, but me as well. I tell you what, once I got a hold of her email I was in Mommy heaven. I can't tell you how many times I wrote her throughout the year, for a variety of reasons, and she always was quick to respond. She even made sure to send several instant messages when Abby had her finger debacle. It was so wonderful for me to know I had that lifeline. All of this, coupled with the fact that throughout the year Abby learned to write her name, all of her colors (even how to read some of the names of them), counting to 10, her alphabet, the pledge of allegiance, a couple of sight words, the days of the week, and many other things (that I'll think of once I've published this post), makes me marvel at what a wonderful teacher Mrs. Currie is. 
The Dream Team: Mrs. Currie, Abby, and Mrs. Davis

Thanks to the efforts of these two lovely ladies Abby has come so far. I am so excited that we will be seeing them both next year. In the end, it was truly a spectacular year for Abby. I am so grateful to all the people that made it possible, including her super general education kindergarten teacher, the bubbly school secretary, and the phenomenal principal. Thank you all, and I hope you have a wonderful summer - you have certainly earned it!

No comments:

Post a Comment