This morning, as he was getting his trumpet and backpack ready for the walk to school, Bean flopped down on the sofa next to me. Tiberius immediately tried to squeeze in, and upon being ignored, settled for sliding down my leg and napping on Bean’s feet. Bean was fidgeting with the crêche on the coffee table, and smiling.
“What’s up?” I tried to be nonchalant. It’s so hard to get him in the right moment when he feels like talking- I hold my breath and hope.
He smiles again, to himself, as he adjusts the little sheep who follow the shepherd. “I love my school so much, mom. I love my teachers, I love Mr. W, I love playing the trumpet, I love my friends, I love PE.”
Suddenly my heart is in my throat, and as always, I have to fight the urge to hold and hug him- it would break the spell. I hold super still, waiting for him to continue. “It’s pretty different than last year, isn’t it?”
He laughs, and rolls his eyes. I love that he’s starting to pick up on teenage behavior and smarty-pants replies. His laughter comes easy these days, and he often comes home from school happy and with stories of his adventures. It’s a whole new world.
“It’s so great, mom.” He lets that just stand, and sit there, a statement of truth and happiness. If there ever was a testament of the power of a good teacher, it is this. And if there ever was any doubt that some people should not be teaching, that real, long-lasting damage can be done in a classroom, it is what happened to this child last year. The differences between then and now are profound.
So tomorrow night he has his first brass concert- his first since switching from the cello- and he is so happy. He’s confident and excited about performing. He loves his band teacher, and he is able to attend every day.
He’s got friends, he’s looking forward to the holiday party at the end of the week, he’s making honor roll, the school hasn’t called me to come in even one time, and he’s not received any disciplinary action– and he’s been praised for being a leader. This is what happens when a child is getting built up at school, and not torn down.
So yeah, teachers matter. Teachers matter so very, very much.