To My Son’s Teachers Who Love Him Just as He Is: Thank You

He's not the best student in the class, but they have always pushed him and encouraged him without criticizing.

Teen boy looking bored/sleepy in class

Photo by Getty Images

Photo by Getty Images

My son is rarely pulled together and I kind of love that about him. His pants are always a bit low, his socks never match, he usually has food somewhere on his body, and is never on time for anything.

He likes his old sneakers because they are more comfortable and it's rare he is able to find anything because he believes it's a waste of time to keep something in its place.

I kind of envy this about him because there isn't an uptight bone in his body. He's so laid back, taking a shower when there aren't any clean towels to use doesn't bother him in the least—he just uses his clothes to dry off with and the thought of doing that makes be cringe.

I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I get so tense on the daily I can bite my nails and grind my teeth at the same time. He's the calm to my storm.

Of course there's also the piece that he's my son so I adore these behaviors at times but reserve the right to flip out about them every once in a while, too. I mean, the child brings a half gallon of orange juice to drink out of during school because taking the time to put the juice on a water bottle doesn't really work for him.

It's my job to love him and embrace everything he has to offer but I have to say, through the years I've noticed something about his amazing teachers: they love and accept him for who he is, too.

He's not the best student in the class and they have always pushed him and encouraged him without criticizing.

He never keeps him homework in any of his folders but instead, has it tucked away in one of his back pockets.

When he was younger his second-grade teacher recognized he was a better reader when he was walking or chewing gum, and she allowed him to do it and told me I should, too. After that minor change, reading at home with him was no longer a fight.

In fourth, grade he had a teacher whom he idolized and asked a lot of questions to. That teacher always took the time to answer my son and encourage his curiosity without being annoyed with him.

When he was on ninth grade, I sat around with all 4 of his teachers during a conference and they all told me it was obvious he didn't like school, but when they could get him to tune in, he focused and sharp and knowledgeable. They also said he was on the cusp of being a class clown and it was hard for them to keep a straight face when he was acting up. They told me he was charming and charismatic even if he was being disruptive.

I'm not bragging about the fact my child has always been a little bit of a challenge in school but was liked anyway. I've never believed he's gotten any special treatment, either. Believe me, the principal knows him well.

What I am saying is, despite the fact he can be silly, unfocused, and not put forth his best effort, through the years, his teachers have still seen him; they've still believed in him, encouraged him and most importantly, they've never given up on him.

I'm not a teacher and I have no idea the pressure it involves. But I know this: my son (when he's alone) wears on me and I don't always handle myself in a way that makes me proud. You can love someone to pieces, and they can still drive you up a wall.

So, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have him plus about twenty other kids who are all going through the same stuff, and still be able to give my son (as well as the other students) what they have given him.

They easily could have dismissed him, sent him outside the classroom on the regular, and not taken the time, or energy to dig deeper and figure out how he learns and find ways to engage him, but they have.

It may not be making a huge impression on him now, but I know when he graduates in two years and looks back at his schooling, he will realize his teachers' amazing-ness.

And of course, as his mother, I feel like we both have been given an amazing gift.