June isn’t just your ordinary month—one look at the calendar will tell you that. As if Flag Day, Father’s Day, and the Summer Solstice isn’t enough, June also marks some other big days—Fight the Filthy Fly Month, National Adopt a Cat Month, and best of all its Candy Month. Oh wait, I almost forgot, it’s also when school lets out for summer vacation—ten unscheduled, carefree, relaxing, non-stressed (stop laughing) weeks of quality time to spend with our non-demanding children. Yes—welcome June!
Before we jump too far ahead to the last day of school (practically July thanks to old man winter’s handy work this year) I always love to reminisce a bit about the highlights of the school year so I can savor anything that was really special (and erase anything that should be forgotten).
The high points this school year were definitely accomplishments my kids achieved like winning the school spelling bee, making distinguished honors, induction into the National Jr. Honor Society, earning spots on the Varsity team, surviving the English unit on Romeo and Juliet, oldest is about to graduate from high school and our youngest is leaving the world of nursery school behind her and will enter the exciting new world of all-day Kindergarten in the fall. Good stuff!
Now, there were certainly some low points as well like the day my high school son got changed for gym class and had a pair of his little sister’s Tinkerbell underpants stuck to his basketball shorts via static cling. Hey, it could’ve been worse and been a pair of mine so for that I’m quite grateful. Sadly he didn’t notice it until all his buddies pointed it out on the court. I expect he’ll be speaking to me again any day now.
Then there was the annual visit by the school dentist in early October. Naturally, she saw my son days before his regularly scheduled check-up and when she casually asked him if he flossed every day, he felt obligated to share that he “would” floss every day if his mother, that would be me, would remember to buy more floss fingers for him and his seven brothers and sisters!
I only stuck the wrong lunchbox or school folders in the wrong child’s backpacks about ten times this year, beating last year’s record of a dozen. And one of my delightful children only found it necessary to ask the front office to loan him hot lunch money a scant handful of times when he decided he didn’t like what I had packed him that day. Add in the recent field trip that I forgot I was supposed to chaperone until my kid came home that day and told me that his friend’s mom had to double up on the kids in her group because Mrs. Butler was a no show, and I’d say those would be the moments I intend to wipe clean from the memory chalkboard this year.
I’ll tell you what I truly do love best about the end of the school year, (besides the fact that I know Labor Day will be back again if I am patient long enough) and that’s thinking about my kid’s teachers. That’s right—those awesome individuals that spend six, sometimes very long, hours with my kids each day.
I’ve made it no secret that as much as I adore motherhood, I was not cut out to be one of those amazing individuals who can home school. I have nothing but praise for these families and am in awe of what they accomplish, sanity intact, throughout the school year.
I have an entirely new appreciation for the teaching profession since I’ve been involved behind the scenes in my kid’s schools and especially when I’ve helped out in the classrooms or remembered to chaperone a field trip. These folks wear many hats throughout the day, often when they aren’t even required to.
Teachers are not only educating our kids but they also serve as role models, leaders, mentors, disciplinarians, shoulders to lean on, confidants, resources, cheerleaders, and sometimes so much more. They aren’t just punching the clock from 8 AM – 2 PM and then calling it a day. Their commitment to teaching is many times a 24/7 job, and with so many budget cuts over the years, many of them are funding certain supplies and such out of their own pockets.
When our kids land in a classroom that they thrive in, parents feel like they’ve hit the jackpot and it truly feels like unwrapping a gift all year long. Of course, not every experience is going to be perfect (believe me, with eight kids I know this firsthand), but if your child does have a teacher or group of teachers that go the distance throughout the school year to help him flourish and grow, these fine professionals deserve to hear that. (And so do their superiors!)
As we wrap up yet another school year and there are some special teachers or school personnel that have touched your children’s lives this school year, why not show them the love? A genuine note of appreciation takes only a little bit of time but the effect it has on the individual could possibly last a lifetime. Happy Summer!
Copyright 2011 Cheryl L. Butler