Dear Mr. Bode,
Of all the teacher thank-you notes I’ve written tonight, yours has been the hardest. You may wonder why you’re even getting one in the first place from that random mom of those decidedly non-athletic triplet kids who showed up in your PE class once a week for the last 5 years. After all, other than waving at me in carpool and sharing a few laughs in the front office as I waited to meet with a teacher, we really didn’t have an occasion to get to know each other.
But of all the teachers that my boys had the privilege to learn under in their elementary school career, you meant the most to me.
And you may be surprised to know that it had absolutely nothing to do with PE.
You see, Mr. Bode, most days when you saw me in that front office it was because someone had gotten in trouble or wasn’t meeting a teacher’s expectation. And you didn’t know it, or maybe you did, that I was sitting there with a bright smile pasted on the outside but carrying a crushing weight of self-doubt and recrimination on the inside.
I felt I was at the end of my rope.
I felt I wasn’t cutting it as a mom.
I felt the entire school staff hated me.
And then you’d stick your head in the office and in that booming voice that scared the living daylights out of my boys you’d say, “You’re such a great mom” and right then and there I’d be given just that bit of encouragement that I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And you didn’t just do it once.
You did it every time you saw me.
You have no idea how those words were a lifeline to me.
So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
For your support.
For your sensitivity.
For saving me from going completely off the ledge.
And, truthfully, for being one of the few teachers that didn’t send a note home about my kids.
We’re gearing up for a fresh start in middle school next year and while I’m looking forward to the new challenges, I’m a little sad that you won’t be making that transition with
me us. (Can I talk you into changing schools?) But I’m comforted in knowing that next year there will be another mom sitting in that elementary school office, chewing on the inside of her lip and wondering how she’s going to make it, and you’ll be there, encouraging her.
Thanks, Mr. Bode.
I’ll miss you.