They all head to their classes very brave and independent (okay, maybe not Dax) and here I am, without my kids, for the next several hours. To their teachers, they are mostly just names on a roll sheet (and their reputations that precede them). But to me, they are everything. Here is what I would say to the teachers if I could:
Hello, Durango High School. This is my heart and soul, Hays. You'll call him Andrew on the first day and he may or may not answer. Hopefully you'll figure out that he goes by Hays before the week is over. He is brilliant. He is driven and he knows what he wants. He will be a great student if you keep him interested, but if you bore him or make him feel like his ideas don't matter, he will tune you out and be very average. He is teaching himself Arabic. Did you know that? He has big dreams. Get to know him. He is thoughtful and has fantastic manners. Sometimes he gets bullied and that brings out the worst in him--you may see a not so sweet side and if you do, please be willing to look beyond what is happening and question what else is going on. If you invest in Hays, you will be very sad to see him leave your class at the end of the year.
Oh, Miller Middle School. You've had Maggie for a year, so hopefully you know that she is Maggie and not Margaret. She is my dear friend. You will adore her. She is sweet and silly and will be shy before she is outgoing. She is a great friend and a very compassionate young girl. She is smarter than her dinginess will let you see at first, but as you get to know her you will be shocked by her wisdom (both book wisdom and life wisdom). Seventh grade is a tough year and my prayer is that the girl stuff won't get her down. I hope that you and the kids in the class will love and respect her and that she can live above the cattiness that often follows middle school girls around. Enjoy her. She will be someone you can count on throughout the year. You're lucky to have her in your class.
Mr. McManus. You get the pleasure to have Tiki in your class. I know that his reputation preceeds him and I know that you can look beyond that into his true heart. I am thankful that you have him this year. (You were Maggie's teacher the Fall we brought Tiki home, so you know about his history.) It is really hard for him to sit still and focus and he will drive you crazy at least one time a day. But please know that he can do it. He wants to do it right and with the right motivation he can succeed. If you don't give up on him, he won't give up on you and that is so important. If Tiki trusts you, then the sky is the limit, but if he doesn't, it could be a long year. He is happy and he doesn't realize that people make fun of him. Please love him. He doesn't pick up on social cues, but he knows when people are happy with him and he thrives on words of affirmation. He loves to bring home notes that say how great he did in school each day. You have a tough job ahead of you but you are also blessed with the kindest and happiest child this world has ever seen. Mr. McManus, I believe that if someone just believes in Tiki, then he could change the world!
Mrs. Hilmer, you have my thumb sucking snuggle bunny sweat muffin, Dax. Hug him every day. Hug him multiple times every day. He is a genius. He really is. School is so easy for him academically and he really loves to be challenged. His work is about average when he isn't challenged because he doesn't have to try, but challenge him and you'll be blown away with how smart he really is. He is mature beyond his years, but he is also a sweet and sensitive baby boy who gets his feelings hurt very easily. He gets his feelings hurt often at school, one wrong look can ruin his entire week. He needs you to love him and praise him. He needs affirmation and he need protection. Please be aware of how he is perceiving how others treat him. He dreads school because he just prefers the safety of home, but he is so funny and outgoing and I hope that you get to see that side of him this year. He is my love. Hug him.
Mrs. Mull, you got Gabby. You know she isn't Gabriella and you know her already. You're so lucky to have her. She is smart and she is so helpful. Let her help you with whatever you need in your class. She loves to help. She is happy and she is social. She loves her peers and she really enjoys being around them. She is easy to have in class and she is eager to please. She is the youngest of five, but she has the spirit of a first-born. I know you will love her and make her feel so at home in your class. I have no worries with Gabby this year because she has you. I am so thankful for that. Sugar and spice and everything nice is Gabby (mostly spice). Have a super year with my girl!
So, DHS, Miller and Riverview, there are my kids. I am trusting you to protect them physically, emotionally and so on. That's a big deal. I raise them so carefully and then you get them for the majority of the day. Do you realize what a big deal that is? Love them. Challenge them. Enjoy them. They're my world!