The teachers’ turn
Tuesday August 28th 2007, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Life

Here’s Sonya pulling another post out of me. I was thinking especially doctors, she mentioned teachers, although of course everybody could use a good thank you now and then.

Here in California, Proposition 13 in the 70’s did away with school buses, pretty much. Which means each family has to figure out on their own how they’re going to get their kids to school, and the school dropoffs, which were not designed at all to be used by parents in individual cars, get pretty crowded. (There’s a story about the vice principal knocking on my window to tell me to drive over to the back of the school to meet the paramedics, and it taking me 20 minutes to maneuver my way through the parking lot, pulling my hair out that he’d told me not to just ditch the car and run, but that’s a post for another day.)

So. I often drove other people’s kids as well as my own. My oldest, in high school, had a friend whom I frequently gave a lift home, and one day the two girls were very late showing up at the car. Thirty-five, forty minutes of sitting there after the bell with the three younger kids, cooling our heels. Now, there were often music lessons to be dashed off to or various other things on the schedule, but this particular day, there was no immediate rush, it was a beautiful day, and we just sat back, wondering where they were, but figuring, well, hey, they had to show up sometime.

They came to the car with Jennie trying to motion behind Jo’s back to me to be calm. She didn’t need to worry. I think that was the same day that I handed Jo a small Trader Joe’s box with three chocolate truffles in it, something that had cost me all of a buck and that I’d seen in the store and thought, I bet that would make Jo’s day; I’d bought it. Jo went, “Wow. Is this a Random Act of Kindness?”

I laughed, not having thought of it that way, but, yeah, I guess you could say so.


It was after we dropped Jo off at her house that Jennie told me Jo had been having a really hard time, and that Mr. Hodges, the math teacher, had taken the time after school to really listen to her and hear her out. That’s why they were so late. Jo had needed that.

I thought of some of my own high school experiences, and mentally thanked Mr. Hodges for being there for our kids, glad that all of mine now knew they could go to him, too.

And then, as I kept thinking how much that meant to me, the next day I made a batch of cinnamon rolls. Now, I make really good cinnamon rolls, more a pastry than a bread. I timed them just so, and when it was time to pick up the kids, I found Jennie and Jo and asked them to lead me to Mr. Hodges’ classroom, quick, before he left for the day. The rolls were still warm.

What he said in response absolutely dumbfounded me: he was totally blown away, which was great fun, but then he said he had never had a parent seek him out in person to say thank you. He’d had a few send a basket of fruit from time to time, and once, some bubbly. But not once in his years of teaching had he had a parent show up in person to tell him thank you for looking out for their children.

My stars. And this in a school district that is justifiably famous for how involved the parents are. Well, it was about time, then!

And to think that to me it had almost felt like cheating, because I’d made something that had taken me only a few hours of work and would be eaten and gone in no time, rather than something knitted.

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Meanwhile, I had a high school teacher that told me the thing I couldn’t understand “has to be memorized. There is no explanation a high shcool student could understand”!!! Of course, this is the same teacher to not bother applying tot he program I wanted to for university becasue I wouldn’t get in. I ignored him, applied, got in and am now happily laughing at him! The best revenge is living well. clearly my teacher was NOT a good one….

Comment by Carol 08.28.07 @ 6:56 pm

Sure, there’s a clunker in every bunch. All the more reason to take good care of the good ones, to help them feel needed and wanted so they stay.

Comment by AlisonH 08.28.07 @ 7:33 pm

Gosh, what should I say today? I took from your post an example of why as parents we need to always hold off responding. We could get mad for the wrong reasons. Boy, the reasons I like you are just growing and growing.

Comment by Sonya 08.29.07 @ 7:15 am

What a great story. Again, I’m so happy to read this positive story. You really make me feel like there is still a lot of good in the world.

Comment by Amanda 08.29.07 @ 5:08 pm

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