A year ago, I was racking my brain trying to figure out how I was going to help my newly graduated Kindergartner. We didn’t officially have an ASD diagnoses, but we knew some things were “off”. Over the summer, I requested a meeting with our principal, kindergarten teacher, and you.

When I met you, I wasn’t sure what to think. You gave me your background and shared your expectations of all your first graders. You seemed nice, and reassured me that James would be fine. I left that meeting feeling confident that we were going to have a good year. But I couldn’t have imagined what the year would really entail.

After dropping him off in his classroom, I sobbed from the hallway to my car. It wasn’t that typical “kindergarten mom” cry; I mean who cries on the first day of first grade? I still had 3 little ones at home, and this was our third year at the school. But in the back of my mind, I was worried about him being treated differently and kids being mean to him.

I wish I had adequate words to thank you for everything you did this year. I don’t. I can’t even begin to come close but here are a few things I want you to know.

Thank you for encouraging your class to think of others.

Thank you for recognizing his strengths & weaknesses and working through those with grace.

Thank you for loving and caring for him like he was  your own.

Thank you for giving him a safe space to open up and talk.

Thank you for allowing him to take a break when he is on sensory overload.

Thank you for keeping him on task.

Thank you for pushing him to do better, because you know He is capable of it.

Thank you for talking through issues in the classroom, rather than shoving them under rug.

Thank you for being a fantastic role model and always pointing them to Jesus.

Thank you for modeling how these children should treat each other.

Thank you for holding them accountable, and explaining that their behavior has consequences.

Thank you for allowing him to work on other things when he would finish a test/quiz first.

Thank you for your kindness and understanding when he was sick or didn’t feel well.

Thank you for keeping me informed about things that were going on in school.

Thank you for encouraging him to do hard things, and reminding him that mistakes are ok.

Thank you for pictures of just us, because with 3 other kiddos, thats a rare thing.

Even after all of that, I’m still not sure it really conveys how much I appreciate you. I could never do your job.  I wish I could afford to hire you privately so that he could have you as his teacher forever. I will always be thankful that James had you for first grade. You have made such a positive impact on his life, that a part of me is so sad to see the school year end. James isn’t the same little boy who walked into your class in the fall. He has come so far, and grown so much. A year ago, he couldn’t stand up in front of people and read for church.  You kept encouraging him and this year he did it multiple times. You have been such a blessing to our lives.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mrs. M!