It wasn't easy to cut my homeschooling dreams short and send Jesse to school this year.
But it was just as hard to see the toll it was taking on him and the rest of the family.
When I talked to several friends about which first grade teacher would be best for our "spirited" son, it was recommended that he have the older, seasoned teacher, who happened to also have a whistle.
Yes, I thought a whistle sounded like just what Jesse needed.
Several months before the school year started we received a letter that this seasoned teacher we had requested was going to retire and instead, a fresh, young, new teacher would be taking her place.
Knowing my son and also having the experience of being a first year teacher, I wondered if this would be the best situation for him. It wasn't that I thought the new teacher wouldn't do a good job, I just didn't want her to quit teaching after having Jesse in her class! I toyed with the idea of having him placed in the other first grade class with a teacher with a few more years under her belt.
But after talking about it, Matt and I decided we would let it go and trust that God would put Jesse with the teacher that was best for him.
Well, the year got off to a rocky start. He had a hard time adjusting to the more structured classroom setting and the social interactions that come with attending school. But, from the very beginning, his teacher very openly communicated to me what was going on and asked for my input as how to best help him.
She prayed with him before school.
She tried different discipline techniques.
She called me and emailed me.
She sympathized with him because she was a lot like he was as a child.
She made accommodations for him in the classroom without me even asking her to.
We have been able to laugh together about some of his quirks.
She has told me numerous times that she loves him.
And I believe her.
The decision to send Jesse to school was a hard one to make but sending him on the bus every morning knowing that he is going to a place where he is loved, where his heart is tended and cared for and where he is prayed for, sets my soul at ease.
I don't think I could have chosen a better situation. And it turns out, I didn't have to.
God has had his hand on Jesse's life from the very beginning, and this past year was no exception.
Today, as I had lunch at LCA and heard the principal speak about how our teachers make less than half of the salary of public school teachers, tears sprang to my eyes.
I know that Jesse's teacher has not only impacted Jesse's academic future but she has tilled the soil of his heart in preparing him to know and love God.
I can think of nothing that is worth more than that.
So, today I am thankful for Mrs. P and the work she does in her classroom everyday:
for the enthusiasm she brings to her students
for the time she spends preparing lessons
for the time she spends sending notes home to me and calling me with updates on Jesse
for her creativity
for her willingness to meet Jesse where he is
for her willingness to change strategy when necessary
for her empathy and understanding
for giving me her cell phone number (!)
for seeing her work as ministry and not just a job
for praying for my son
for making school a place where he likes to go
for loving him and wanting to see him grow
for looking out for his needs and meeting them
for seeing his potential
Mrs. P might not have all the salary of a typical teacher, but the work she is doing exceeds any monetary value. She is making a heart investment in my son and in the lives of the other students in her class.
And I am so thankful for this incredible gift.