I’ve heard the stories. The stories about teachers who’ve affected some kid’s life in a dramatic way. The stories of teachers going above and beyond to make a difference. But in all the years my four kids have been in school, I have never experienced it. Oh, there’s been some good teachers along the way, but never a truly outstanding one who’s made a difference.
For years, Amp has struggled in school. Amp, the genius. An incredibly well-spoken, well-versed, high test scoring genius. With a D average.
All through grade school it was organization, or lack of, that killed him. He’d complete his homework at the table, put it in his folder, and somehow lose it before he got to class. Over and over again, he’d forget a paper at school, or he’d forget his homework at home. His teachers would punish him with no recess or give him extra work. And still, his organization skills never improved.
We tried EVERYTHING. And I do mean EVERYTHING to help him. A few of his teachers would offer suggestions, but nothing seemed to work.
Seventh grade was the worst for him. He had a very controlling teacher who thought she could bully him into getting his work turned in. She never allowed him recess or PE. She threatened to keep him from assemblies, concerts and even Field Day.
To save him, we worked with her to devise a plan. She would initial that he had written all his assignments down, and we would initial that he’d done them all, yet somehow, he would not have it to turn in.
His confidence began to suffer, and he began to get upset at not being able to fix himself. At that point, Hubby and I thought it best to just help him get through the year without being too traumatized.
His struggle continued into high school. Our struggles continued as well, as we worked to find reasons and solutions for his continuing issues with focusing and organization. All the while, we worked to keep his confidence up while he continued to berate himself.
So when his English teacher began to see the Amp we know and love, our hopes soared. She understood he needed time to think about his writing topic, and needed time to perfect it in his head before he committed it to paper. She didn’t push deadlines on him and assured us he could turn his written assignments in as he finished them.
Once turned in, she would rant and rave about how great they were, to us and to him. She began to encourage him which helped to boost his esteem. Soon, he was showing a bigger commitment to doing homework, and although he still struggles with deadlines, the improvement is remarkable.
Other teachers have noticed a change as well. He participates more and appears to have greater self-confidence.
He’s still getting low grades, but there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. We see it, but most importantly, I think Amp sees it.
Oh there’ll be hurdles along the way. Take this weekend for example. He’d planned to use the long weekend to catch up on missing homework. Except he left his books at school. Seems like there’s always something holding him back.
Not willing to give up, I texted Mrs. English Teacher, who immediately responded with, “I was going to school on Monday anyway. He can meet me there.”
I want to bow at this lady’s feet and kiss her ring. Or at the very least, buy her dinner. It’s an incredible feeling to have one of his teachers finally see in him what we’ve always seen.
She occasionally brings me up to speed through email, and each time she writes, I send a very teary eyed thank you email in return.
Her latest email: Amp has been on fire this semester. He is actively participating and doing quality work. I submitted his comic strip to a contest. Cross your fingers. Love that kid.
Finally someone is on his side. Perhaps the genius in him will push his way out and squash the uncertain, indecisive, self-deprecating person he has become over the years.
Oh, did I mention? This is the same teacher who at the beginning of the year, criticized Mario for quitting dance. At that time, I worried tremendously about her being Amp’s teacher, thinking he had another year of bullying ahead of him.
I’m proud to admit, I was completely wrong. She’s the best thing that could have happened to him.
And she’s definitely got my vote.
This one just cracked me up.