Teachers make a difference in kids lives

I was a shy kid.  I still am really.  I’d rather sit in a quiet corner of a restaurant with 3 or 4 people I know than go to a huge party with hundreds of people – those make me hyperventilate.  I’m pretty shy at heart.  When I started preschool at B.Y.U. at the age of 3 it was a super hard for me to make eye contact with my teachers, even though they were perfectly lovely.

notebooks

By Kindergarten I was fairly comfortable with a handful of close friends at my side, 20 of which remained with me all the way through the 7th grade.  Still, school was tricky.  I’m one of 8 kids and I got lost in the mix a lot, especially when it came to schoolwork.  My parents were just busy, period.  They both worked full-time jobs while managing a houseful of kids, and I never had help with homework.

My parents signed me up for Spanish immersion in the 1st grade and a lot of the kids had been with me in Kindergarten, so at the very least I had kids who made eye contact with me.

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What I didn’t know until a handful of years ago actually, is that I started reading in Spanish just fine but it took until 3rd grade for me to read fluently in English.  In fact Spanish was a far more comfortable language for me to speak, period.  It felt a lot more natural to me, which makes sense to me now as an adult; I was in a classroom with my peers speaking nothing but Spanish all-day every day for 9 months out of the year 1st through 6th grade.

But I still needed a little TLC at school.  At the age of 9 she came to me in the form of an angel named Mrs. Hansen.  Mrs. Hansen, a young college graduate fluent in Spanish led my class on a magical journey that year.  She sat with her arm around me when I had difficulty with something, whispering encouragement in my ear.  A handful of times I arrived at school in tears; without fail Mrs. Hansen scuttled me into the hall with some tissues and a hug and a worried look in her eye, poised to listen and offer help.

She nurtured me, she believed in me, held me up, and completely changed my life.

I corresponded with Mrs. Hansen for years. YEARS.  I sent her a wedding announcement when Viktor and I were married and of course she sent a lovely gift with a note that made me cry.  When I ordered invitations for college graduation she was at the top of my list because when I struggled through college, holding on by the skin of my teeth it was Mrs. Hansen’s voice I heard in my ear telling me I could do it.  She loved me, she believed in me, She knew I could succeed.  She loved me, and never wasted an opportunity to tell me so.

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My own children have been lucky enough to have a ‘Mrs. Hansen’ in their lives.  Precocious has already had two, Mrs. H and Mrs. P, both of whom made magic during their short tenures with her.

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Charming was wrapped in love all through Kindergarten with Mrs. M, knowing every effort would be met with a cheer.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all the educators out there putting your hearts and budgets, and free time on the line for the children you teach.  Teachers make a difference in kids lives.

life is a special occasion

I’m so grateful to be partnering with Hallmark again in 2012 as part of their “Life Is a Special Occasion” campaign.  Hallmark is a delightful company.  As always all stories and photos are my own.

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Allison

Hello there! I’m Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I’m super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we’re a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

8 Comments

  1. Michelle :

    I too had teachers who wrapped me in love and with the power of face book I am still in contact with them which I love. It was because of them that I went into the field as well. It’s so nice to hear thank you from a parent, it doesn’t have to be an extravagant thank you. Just the kind words or a note have always touched my heart. It’s amazing to think of how many lives my teachers touched, I hope to do the same!

  2. Maggi :

    I retired last year after 35 years of teaching. Teaching my “babies” felt like a gift to me! I was energized by the optimism, innocence and vulnerabiliy of the children I had the privilege to teach-helping kids along life’s early journey gave me a feeling of satisfaction that has never been equalled. I can’t tell you how much it means to a teacher to hear a simple thank you for doing what we love! Your words a much appreciated!

  3. vanessa :

    Oh my goodness your little girl is looking so very grown up. Sob.

  4. Liz :

    What a wonderful post! With four kids in school, for the last 13 years, I’ve found it easier to contribute to a group gift for each of their classes. However, I have always sent a special thank you note to each of my kids’ teachers. They are totally worth it!

  5. melissa :

    I love this post. My husband is a teacher, I’m going to share this with him! Beautiful!!!

  6. Lillian Hoyt :

    Allison- I just read this post and feel like it could be something I wrote myself. I was one of 8 kids, lost in the mix, both parents worked full time, no help with homework, shy, not a great student. But I always remember Senorita Hansen. I loved her. She actually took time out to help me. I remember her teaching me the times tables. Many times over the years I have thought how I would love to get in touch with her to tell her how much I appreciated her being so nice, but have had no idea how. Do you still have her contact info? I would love to thank her.

    And I love the school photo. That’s the Allison Aagard I remember :)

  7. Natalie :

    She’s getting all grown up! 3rd grade was like yesterday…

  8. Stacia :

    Michael S. also corresponded with Sra. Hansen, but when we had the reunion we didn’t know where to reach her. Please share if you have a good address!