Day 35: First Grade with Gail

12 May

About twelve years ago my son entered first grade at Helman Elementary School in Ashland.  He’d had a great year in kindergarden and we were excited about the new year.  Early in October the first parent-teacher conferences were held.  We scheduled an appointment and when the time came we set off to meet to talk with the new teacher.  As we walked to the school my son said, “I think my teacher is going to say that I need to be left back.”  Left back?  When I asked him why he thought that he wouldn’t say much. When we arrived at the classroom we met Gail.  She was smiling and greeted us warmly.  I asked my son to tell Gail what he’d just told us.  After he did, Gail asked him why he thought that and he told her that the girls at his table were already reading and writing and he couldn’t do either of those things.  Gail just smiled and said, “Well, girls usually are faster at reading and writing than boys.  But what you should know is that those girls are in second grade!”  My son did not realize that  he was in a blended first/second grade classroom and had been worried that he was way behind when in fact he was right on course.  With Gail’s reassurance he never worried about being left back again.

This year, my son and Gail are both “moving on” together.  He is graduating from Ashland High and Gail is retiring.  They are both embarking on journeys that are exciting, scary and new.  I have no fears for either of them as they face the future because they are both wonderful people -and have the skills necessary to succeed – they are smart, caring, and positive.  I look forward to hearing about their adventures – wherever life may take them.

Today I made Gail a Spinach and Pepper Quiche.  I thought that a gift of dinner might come in handy – and she said I was right.  Isn’t it great when things come together like that?

One Response to “Day 35: First Grade with Gail”

  1. Leslie May 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM #

    When I heard Gail was retiring I was both excited for her and sad for future students that wouldn’t be able to experience her. My son Mark had Gail for his 1st and 2nd grades. What impressed me the most was although she had been teaching for a number of years, she still made learning exciting and new for her students and genuinely shared their enthusiasm for learning. Thank you Gail! And thank you Karen! xo

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