August 12, 2008

Standing Ovation

There's a woman who has worked at a school called Wilkinson Elementary for the past five years. It's down in south Florida. Its not the only school she's worked in to be sure. She's taught in almost every grade for about 112 years but mostly elementary. Now she does some quasi-administrative job staffing Special Ed. and ESOL students. She's small but tough and loves every student she works with and talks to the parents straight. She rarely offers unsolicited advice but finds herself asked for it almost always from teachers and administrators alike.

Yesterday was Wilkinson's first day back for the staff pre-planning week and they kicked it off with the obligatory rah-rah stuff to motivate everyone, including giving out some awards to people who have been helpful. Names were called, applause was given.

Then they called this particular woman's name and, not being in the classroom, found herself a bit surprised to hear her name called. She stood to accept the award but, knowing her, she was shaking her head in a self-deprecating kind of way. She doesn't relish this kind of attention. She is to the profession what Michael Phelps is to swimming but she would never see it that way.

The clapping was by far louder for her than it had been for the others which embarrassed her. She turned around and was nearly knocked over to see the entire staff on their feet giving her a standing ovation.

She cried while telling me this story on the phone last night. She really couldn't believe it. What she doesn't get is that is what makes her so great. Oh, and she's a pretty awesome Mom too.

P.S. In that same conversation she asked about her granddaughter's first day of school (see previous post). Well, she enjoyed that candy but it wasn't enough of a breakfast. She had a snack time, but that didn't do the trick. For some unimaginable reason her lunch time is at nearly 2pm. The poor kid was pouty all day because she was starving. After lunch she was apparently much happier and engaged but that was the last hour of the day! So trust me, she had a big breakfast today and her mom packed her extra snacks. It wasn't the greatest kick off to an academic career, but I think she'll be fine.