It is actually hard for me to put into words how I feel about Mary. I know, strange right? Mary has been Aidan’s 4th year teacher at Carolina Friends this year. There are 3 teachers in the classroom, but Mary was his assigned teacher and his “skills group” teacher.
Transitioning to a school like Carolina Friends as a 4th is never easy. We did it because we had no other alternative after 3rd grade in traditional public school. Most of the students have been together since pre-k and peer groups have already been formed. Aidan tried out a few peer groups before figuring out where he fit in. Mary was his biggest supporter the entire time.
She was worried, at first, because he was reluctant to contribute in class, but his written work showed he understood concepts and topics. At our first conference I shared his experience in 3rd grade and that because of it he was probably reluctant to trust a teacher. She totally got it and worked with him during those early months to establish trust.
I was not worried because the work he was producing was awesome, and he shared a ton each week about what he learned at school (compared to the “I don’t know” we got last year).
Fast forward to a few months ago. Mary came up to my car at dismissal and said “the kid has figured it out, all is well.” That is all she had to say. I cannot explain the relief that I felt. I knew the school would be a good fit for him, but Mary’s comment made it all true.
This is Mary’s last year at Carolina Friends. She has been a teacher there for 27 yrs. Yes, you read that right. 27 years. Teachers do not leave this wonderful school until retirement. All of the 4th years wrote goodbye cards to Mary. Want to know what Aidan’s said? “Thanks Mary for being my teacher. You changed my life. Love, Aidan.” When he told me this I said I wanted to cry, which of course prompted him to ask why I would cry about something like that, it is not sad. Sigh….he is a 10 yr old boy.
The entire lower school celebrated Mary this afternoon. I gave her a BIG hug (and I do not like to hug) and said that a higher power knew that she needed to be at Carolina Friends one more year for Aidan. Her smile and reassurance help me know I was right.
Here is Aidan and his beloved Mary. She will have a special place in our hearts forever.