Colleagues and administrators: you helped me stay busy, focused and productive while Dear Husband has been away. Many of you have also offered support (moral and caffeine-filled) as I've worked through being the single parent, full time teacher, blogger, crafter, and Jane-of-All-Trades. For those of you who nominated me to my new committee memberships, thanks for having faith in me and for the extra info and training. I hope I can do as wonderful a job as you have. I appreciate your patience, good thoughts, humor and help (and energy-boosting and spirit-lifting chocolate treats too)!
To my teacher aide and para: thank you for helping me guide my students and involve their families. Thank you for those knowing looks, our sharing of inside jokes, and for putting our students first. To be able to trust not one but two other people completely with the day to day workings of this kindergarten experience, meeting the diverse needs of our special friends... it's a luxury that I wish all teachers could rely upon. You ladies have been *awesome*!
For the specialists at my school: as comprehensive and experience-rich as I'd like my classroom to be, you are the ones that offered the best art, physical education, musical experiences, library knowledge and in-depth science explorations that I'd hoped my students would have. Thank you for all of your preparation, conscientious standards alignment, guidance, and partnership. You made sure our students weren't deprived of the activities and exposure that will best help their academic and personal growth.
For our incredible custodial staff: it was through your efforts that my students and I remained healthy and safe this year. You cleaned, disinfected, vacuumed, and repaired anything and everything we needed... no small feat! You made it safe for us to get to and from school during our worst and most dangerous weather conditions, and thanks to your efforts, my students and I were able to do our jobs each day. I know that dried glue and embedded play dough are some of your least favorite things to have to clean... I'll do a better job of handling both next August, I promise!
Our wonderful secretaries, nurse and counselor: your choreography, flexibility and ability to multi-task dazzles and inspires me- I'm in awe. Handling phone calls, school emergencies, families and students in need, special events, changes in schedules, injuries, record keeping, copying, and doing everything you do to provide teachers with the maximum amount of instructional time and our students and families the feeling that their school is a welcoming place... seriously, are your super-hero capes invisible or something? Perhaps they're stashed, hidden away in your coat closet? I *know* you have them somewhere!
Speech, OT/PT, Reading, ESOL, child psychologists and behavior therapists: you have not only helped me to understand special education law, but you've given me guidance as to proper and helpful interventions and resources to meet my students' most exceptional needs. You've treated my students as the whole children that they are, and not merely as the diagnoses for which they receive extra services and accommodations. You've been the most helpful partners for me and my students' families. Thank you for sharing your expertise, and for helping me sound out those h-u-m-o-n-g-o-u-s medical terms!
To our fifth grade buddy class and other classes that invited us to share in their special projects and presentations: thank you for showing my students that learning is WAY cool at any age. My students see adults as only adults, but recognize older siblings, neighborhood friends and other kids as peers and even role models. If Jeff's older brother thinks math is cool, then it must be. If Ann's older sister loves to read, then joining her for story time certainly ranks up there with playing the newest video game, or being the first to open a fresh set of watercolor paints. Thank you for inspiring my young students. You ROCK!
Technology department: thank you for oh-so-patiently answering my questions, resetting my passwords, and fixing mistakes on the kindergarten report card. You've made me SMART Board ready, my students comfortable with the ol' point and click, and yes, I realize, I probably owe you more cookies than anyone else. Any requests?
Cafeteria staff: you were able to make my Stars' day every time you offered cheese pizza, watermelon, popcorn chicken, and three flavors of milk. You also managed to save me from leftover h-e-*-* on more than one occasion. Thank you and:
Parents and families of my Super Stars: your children know how important and natural learning is thanks to not only the years you spent with them prior to the past nine months, but through their observation of your volunteerism, classroom donations and helpful communication within our school setting. That you've shared your children and entrusted me with their physical, academic, and emotional care day in and day out means the world to me. Thank you for allowing me to be their guide, and thank you for listening to me not only for the fun and endearing stories that made you proud, but during those difficult discussions when I told you things that concerned you. You are the best possible advocates for your children, and you have been my most helpful partners in their education. Never fear, I won't blog what your daughters and sons said about your attempts to sing Lady Ga-Ga songs while in the shower or how your dog always wins the fart contests at your house each Thanksgiving.
You may have only been doing your jobs, but I greatly appreciate the fact that you did them well.