The Story of Romana

Romana was  from Romania.  She was the kindest little girl.  She spoke very little English, yet she clearly enjoyed school.  She is the child on the far right with the biggest smile.

I remember the day I took this photo.  We were playing a game of Musical Chairs.  In my version, every time the music stops I take away a chair.  Children have to find a lap of another child to sit on.  When we get down to two or three chairs, it is a scramble.  The squeals and laughing say it all.

Romana loved this game.  She also loved art.  As a three-year-old she helped illustrate our classroom God Bless America book.

Romana was a born giver.  She noticed everything.  She loved Milly the Quilter.

The following year her younger sister, Stefana, was in my class.  She was a delight.  Then their little brother, Vlad, joined school.  I loved these children.

I learned much about family traditions and culture in Romania.  When Romana was five or six, she went to Romania – alone – to spend much of the summer with her grandparents.  They only spoke Romanian.

And then the unthinkable happened.  Their father became sick with cancer and died in a relatively short period of time.  His mother came to America from Romania to see her son before he died.  I went to their house to take care of the children so the adults could have some time together.  That was so sad!

I will never forget the funeral.  I’d never been to a Greek Orthodox funeral.  It was formal, with an open casket.  Children were in a playroom downstairs, yet Romana came into the sanctuary, saw me, and climbed up onto my lap for much of the funeral.  She was fine.  I held it together.

Over the next few years I visited, always bringing my autoharp and a stack of books.  We played, sang, danced, and read stories.  It was delightful.

Time moves on and so do children and their families.  Last week the family stopped by school to say hello and goodbye, as they are moving out of town.  I wasn’t there!  So, they wrote messages to me on the chalkboard, and climbed up on the loft in my classroom to make me a video.

I have watched the video at least seven million times.  I love you, Romana. I love your family.  Thank you!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in behavior, Death and dying, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, preschool, Student alumni and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to The Story of Romana

  1. beetleypete says:

    What a lovely story. It is sad that you were not in school that day, but you will be forever in their hearts.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Such a beautifully touching story. I have tears in my eyes. ❤

  3. quiall says:

    This shows the importance a single teacher can have on an entire family!

  4. Dan Antion says:

    This just confirms what we (readers) know about your teaching, Jennie. You touch the lives of your students. Apparently, they remember. I’m glad they left a video for you.

  5. Opher says:

    What a lovely thing for them to do. It shows just what a positive effect you have on people! You really do make a difference Jennie!

  6. John Fioravanti says:

    This is a beautiful story, Jenny. Thank you for sharing it with us. Clearly, you are a teacher who goes above and beyond with your kids. Bless you!

  7. That’s such a beautiful story!
    They won’t ever forget you.

  8. How wonderful, to know that you’ve made such an impact on their lives!

  9. Lovely story, Jennie. So great you have the video which you can watch forever. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, John. I will probably be watching the video many times. I sent the blog post to her mother. She was beyond moved. Well, that’s an understatement. 🙂

  10. Darlene says:

    How special!! I am crying. This video is a keeper. What lovely children. You have the best job and you are the best person for the jb!!

  11. This is such a sweet story, Jennie. I am sure you posted about this father who died of cancer last year, I think. Such beautiful children.

  12. A beautiful story, Jennie. How nice for Romana to be a part of your class and become wholeheartedly American. This is how it should be.

  13. lolaWi says:

    such a beautiful story. thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Ritu says:

    Well this story just warms the heart, Jennie ❤

  15. Ren says:

    Everything is perfectly and purposefully done! And you have the video to prove it!

  16. GP Cox says:

    Now – THAT is proof of what a magnificent teacher you are!! While it’s sad that you weren’t there that day, you will always have this video!!

  17. How sad and sweet, Jennie. You gave so much to this little girl and her siblings. I’m sure they will always carry your love with them wherever they go. 🙂

  18. juliemartinb says:

    This was such a sweet post. It helps capture the true essence of teaching – building relationships with kids and families.

  19. Deepa says:

    That is a touching video Jennie.

  20. Coy says:

    If you get a chance, look into the movie called American Rhapsody.

  21. Tears falling… How precious are our little ones and what blessings they bring us. ❤

  22. You are as blessed by your students as they are by you. What a wonderful exchange of open hearts. I don’ know of many teachers that would take such an interest in their students. I’m sure you’ll see them again one day.

    • Jennie says:

      I really am blessed, Marlene. I like your description, “an exchange of open hearts”. That’s how it is. I think I will see them again one day. Thanks so much!

  23. petespringerauthor says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Jennie. We give our hearts to our students, and we get back twice as much in return. Thank you for making a difference in so many children’s lives.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you for your lovely comments, Pete. They mean a great deal. You are right that we get back twice as much when we give our hearts. Aren’t we lucky!

  24. petespringerauthor says:

    Are you on Facebook, Jennie? I started a Facebook group about a year and a half ago called Supporters of Teachers. There are only about 300 of us, and probably no more than 50 are active, but I’d love to share this story.

    • Jennie says:

      Yes!! I’m on FB. I’d be honored to have you share the story. I would love to join the group, too. When I clicked on the link, it went to FB, but would not let me open the group. Of course it’s early in the morning and I haven’t had coffee yet.🙂 Will try again after work.

      • petespringerauthor says:

        Okay, that’s just me not knowing what the heck I’m doing. When I started the group, I guess I started it as a closed group. (Says the guy driving the bus blindfolded) I’ll send you a regular friend request and add you that way.

      • Jennie says:

        That’s so funny, Pete, and also ‘so me’ 🙂. I look forward to connecting on FB.

  25. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is simply wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  26. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is another wonderful post from Jennie, the extraordinary teacher!

  27. teacherturnedmommyblog says:

    what a loving story. the connections we make with students in the primary grades has such a huge impact on their whole lives. I’m glad to hear that you and Ramona were able to touch each others lives

    • Jennie says:

      Yes, those teacher connections when children are young have a tremendous impact. I had no idea that my connection with Romana was still an important thing until that visit. Funny, that’s often how it happens – we teachers don’t realize at the time how much we impact children…. until years later 🙂. Thank you so much!

  28. sjhigbee says:

    Another wonderful story, Jennie. Thank you for sharing the video…

  29. What a heartwarming story! I loved the video (broken arm, braces, and all).

  30. Thank you for the wonderful story. A honour to read. Michael

  31. Laureen says:

    This is so wonderful and so heartwarming! It’s clear to see how much love they have for you:)

  32. Awesome post, Charles!! There are priceless rewards for being a Beloved Teacher!! Hats off to you, My Friend!! You will be one of the most remembered people in those children’s lives. Bellissimo!!

  33. Pingback: Sunday Post – 22nd September, 2019 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost | Brainfluff

  34. Jennie-what a moving story. You certainly impact the lives of your children. Godspeed my friend

  35. What a wonderful experience for all of you, Jennie. I know I would be so honored to be such a part of a family event as memorable as that. And it is incredible how Romana handled it. You are certainly the most incredible lady I have ever met I think.

  36. Can’t help it, Jennie. I just love who you are as a human being, and all the wonderful things you have done to make life beautiful and joyful for those children.

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