Treasuring Teachers With Sweet Mementos
Heading back to school this year was bittersweet, and not just for me. I think that if Jack and Zoe could have chosen for themselves, in fact, they wouldn’t have graduated out of their grades or transitioned out of their classes at all. They both had really truly lovely experiences in Kindergarten and First Grade during our first year here in Santa Cruz and really, their firsts of many things. They made brand new friends, adjusted to a new school in a new neighborhood and completely different environment than the one we left in New York City. I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience for them and am so grateful they thrived in the ways that they did-pretty much all ways.
The end of the school year last year brought a lot of anticipation, and even a few tears. Jack and Zoe both had grown so comfortable with their peers and classrooms, but most of all they developed meaningful and pivotal relationships with their teachers. I can remember very distinctly my teachers from both Kindergarten and First Grade, and how much I felt like they cared for me and my educational experience with them, and it’s the neatest thing ever to watch the same thing happening with my children. They spent a lot of the summer talking about their experiences from that school year with friends, but they also talked a lot about their teachers. Zoe, who is one that expresses herself largely through her art work, drew countless pictures for friends and her Kindergarten teacher. She even drew a picture for Jack’s First Grade teacher, whom she was convinced she would also get for First Grade this year as well. Trying to think of a way for them to process the transition to the next grade and new teachers, I suggested they make a card for their old teachers as a way of saying thank you and hopefully finding a bit of closure on their experiences the year before. They both chose to make their cards with the Creatacard app from American Greetings, and couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out. The kids were incredibly proud of how “professional” looking the printed cards turned out, and couldn’t wait to present them to their teachers after school one day.
Though my husband and I come from a long line of public school elementary educators, it’s still astounding to me how remarkable they are on so many levels. I wonder every year what it must be like for them to develop such important relationships and trust with children during a time in their lives that makes such a difference. The kids are changing and growing so rapidly, and the skills they’re learning are lifelong, even at the earliest level. My second grade teacher instilled in me a sense of pride that I hadn’t known before, but also a level of trust with another adult that wasn’t my parent, but someone whose opinion I valued tremendously, if not equally. I know that for Jack especially, his relationship with his First Grade teacher was monumental in his success last year, from developing confidence academically and socially. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate that as his mother, but I’m learning to find ways that I can try to show it, especially to a person in a position that is tremendously undervalued from society’s standpoint. Jack was able to incorporate a photo of his self (his first selfie!), a function on the Creatacard app that was easy enough for him to figure out how to do on his own. He snapped the photo and uploaded it into the card itself-and it printed beautifully! Zoe is more of a drawer, and used her talents for at least 20 minutes before perfecting her masterpiece. The different tools allowed her to draw people and landscapes easily, something that is fun and detailed for her to focus on.
Zoe For Jack and Zoe, making these cards and presenting them was so much more than what it actually was tangibly, but the mementos they became were also hopefully appreciated by their teachers. Not to mention, it made for a fun activity during one of those waning, long last summer days before school started up again.
Now that Jack and Zoe are just getting their feet wet in First and Second Grades respectively, I can see that they’re getting the hang of what is more or less their childhood careers as students. They are bright-eyed and excited for what’s to come in the year ahead, and knowing that their experience and transition from last year was the best it could be puts my heart at ease, too. It’s incredibly sweet that they were so attached to their former teachers, and making these cards with the Creatacard app was the perfect tool to help them say good bye and thank you to two women that made a huge difference in their lives. I especially love that I could order a couple of extras for their “baby books” as my own personal memento of this past year, and one they will no doubt have a blast looking back on.
Thank you to Creatacard by American Greetings for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading!