My birthday this year was on a Sunday. The next day we were not in school because of Memorial day. On Tuesday morning, I was in my classroom when one of my students came in. Now I know as teachers, we aren't supposed to have "favorites", but I don't know how I will ever get this child out of my heart. We will call her "B". She is the student I wrote about who is a refugee from Burma. I have watched this child grow from a scared little girl who was plucked from such terrible living conditions, to a confident, highly-motivated child who wants so badly to learn as much as she can.
She came in on this Tuesday morning and brought me a birthday present. She must have spent all weekend thinking of what to do. She took several sheets of paper that felt like scrapbook paper ( I assume she may have gotten this at church). She used the paper to make a gift bag and attached a fake orange flower to the front. Inside the bag were little things she probably had at her house, like a fresh pencil and some candy. But the best part was the note she WROTE me in ENGLISH!!
This is her note....just as she wrote it:
"Happy Brithday. I hope you have a great summer. you'r My best teacher. next year I was to teacher you agin. I will miss you. I praying for you family. have a great day and you have good student next year. JESUS LOVE YOU! Thank you and I love you. "B". "
Now, I know there are a lot of mistakes in this letter, but it brought me to tears. When I first met this child, she could not speak any English at all. She couldn't work a water fountain, and didn't know to lock the bathroom stall door. I spent her first week at school walking around with labels all over me so she could learn words like "shirt", "pants", "teacher", etc. By the time August came around and school started back, I could tell that someone at her church had helped her over the summer. In October, she read a book to me. (Granted, it was a Kindergarten level book, but she read it!). In November, we had a conversation where she said more than Yes or No, or nodded her head. She ended the year making B's and C's and was in the top 3 for reading points. ( We do a program where the kids read a book, take a test on the computer, and earn points.) For her to be able to write this letter in English, with only a few mistakes, shows how much she has learned in her first year in America.
I was actually sad when this school year ended...mostly because I know she will not be with me next year. I knew I became a teacher because I wanted to help children learn as much as they can. I truly believe that every child can learn. Last year we had 3 teachers in 5th grade, and "B" could have been put in anyone's class. It is no mistake that she was placed into my class. God showed me a lot about myself this year, through the eyes of this special child. And, because she told me she was a Christian, I know I will see her in Heaven one day! I hope she will come back to visit me through the years. I can't wait to see how much she will learn as she grows up!