Sophia stopped by school to say hello.  It’s always a treat to see children I have taught.  I made a fuss, told her how big and grown up and beautiful she was. Making a fuss is my favorite thing to do.  The child beams.  It’s another chance to say all those things I said years ago.  Those words make a big difference.  Like ‘The Hundred Little Things’, the words pile up, a quiver of arrows.

I asked Sophia, “What do you remember about the Aqua Room?”
“You”, she replied.

My goodness, I never expected that.  Sophia was a book lover.  I thought she might talk about chapter reading.  Here she is years ago, organizing children in chairs to read books.

But it wasn’t books she remembered.  It was her teacher who introduced her to the books.  Never estimate the power of your words and actions, especially with children, because they can make all the difference in their world.

“Children make your life important”
-Erma Bombeck-


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 Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, preschool, Quotes, Student alumni, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to “You”

  1. KINDNESS says:

    Thank you 🌸🌺🌟 Kindness 🌺🌸🌺💕

  2. Ritu says:

    That is so lovely.
    I have a child who is 11 now, and he brings my register to me every morning.
    Each day, without fail, he says, “I wish I was back in your class!”
    Touches the heart 💜

  3. quiall says:

    The most important gift a child can receive is a good teacher. I still remember a few great ones.

  4. ~M says:

    There is nothing better than being able to make a difference in a child’s life. This made me smile Jennie, thanks for sharing.

  5. How wonderful this story is, Jennie! I got a lump in my throat and teary-eyed. You have a way of doing that! 😍 That quote by Irma B. is so true. C’est ma raison d’etre. Bringing my children into the world is the only reason I am here.

  6. beetleypete says:

    Of course it was ‘You’, Jennie. Without you, they would just be books in a classroom.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. petespringerauthor says:

    This experience was one of my favorite parts of teaching. When they reach out to you years later, it reinforces how special the teacher-student relationship is. It is their way of saying, “You were an important person in my life.” I’ve been to birthday parties, graduations, and weddings of some of my former students. This year I got invited to my first housewarming party of an ex-student.

    One of my all-time favorite stories to tell is when one of my second-graders brought in invitations for a sleepover for the whole class. I nearly burst out loud laughing when the boy gave an invitation to me. I obviously didn’t go, but I would have given anything to see his parents’ expression if I showed up at their house with a sleeping bag.🤣🤣🤣

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that you have former students who visit you, Jennie. Everything you do in teaching shows what a nurturing teacher you are.

    • Jennie says:

      I love the sleepover invitation! Like you, the weddings, high school graduations, sporting events, play performances were (and are) the highlights of my life as a teacher. I want to tell the all new teachers to look at the big picture and stick around. When you have a hard day, right around the corner a moment sneaks up on you. And it tells you how important you really are.

      Thank you, Pete. You have paved the way for teachers and for children. I love every story you tell. And on a really tough week at school like this week, when I felt close to packing it in, a simple “you” and a “Pete Story” make all the difference. Next week I can put one foot in front of the other at school. 🙂

      I am off today to hear an author/illustrator at a bookstore. I’m so excited!

      • petespringerauthor says:

        Sorry to hear about your rough week, Jennie. We’ve all been there, not that that’s much consolation. It sounds like you got the best reminder on Friday of why we do this thing called teaching. I’m volunteering at my former school next week.

      • Jennie says:

        “This thing called teaching”… I love that! Thank you, Pete. Looking forward to hearing about your volunteering next week. Are you a sub?

  8. srbottch says:

    It’s not surprising she answered that way, Jennie, you fuss over us ‘biggies’, too, and we’d probably answer the same. Nice work and it’s terrific that you take pictures, lots of them. The kids must love seeing themselves change as time goes by.

  9. joylennick says:

    How wonderful now and when you retire…to recall all the joys and learning which passed between you and so many eager children. Let’s hear it for teachers!! Hugs xx

  10. Seems like teacher got ‘fussed over’…nice!

  11. Darlene says:

    Children remember those who were kind to them. I love the Erma Bombeck quote. It is so true. xo

  12. Your post reminded me of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Robicheau. I remember her fondly because she did art with us. It meant the world to me. (I’ve forgiven her for the torture of New Math; I’m sure it was mandated–unlike the art.)

  13. That’s really sweet and I’m sure it came from the heart.

  14. calmkate says:

    absolutely, and children know when it comes from the heart 🙂

  15. Dan Antion says:

    I’m not surprised, Jennie. You remember love.

  16. So true! So true! Personal interactions are what it’s all about and kids, including ourselves from when we were kids, never forget them!

  17. This post tugged on my heartstrings, Jennie! You are absolutely right about the ower of the written word and the debt one owes to the person who set them on the path of reading good books. Bless you!

  18. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, simply wonderful!

  19. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, why am I not in the least surprised about Sophie’s answer?! 😀 You make the class, the class room … your love of teaching, reading, shining through, guiding the young students to books, the magic of imagination. You do all that and so much more … Sophie is now old enough to truly appreciate this!

  20. Norah says:

    That’s why we do it.

  21. I love that Erma quote. Yes. I love it when students can’t help but give you a sly smile because they know you are one of the good guys.

  22. Beautiful connection you have with the children! xo

  23. Take a bow dearest Jennie,, and why shouldn’t it be YOU!…. You dear Jennie are a light in so many of their lives.. I have said it before and I will say it again… I wish I had you as my teacher as a young child…
    My first great teacher came into my life aged 11, She was a wonderful English teacher, who saw behind the quite recluse child who sat alone often, her encouragement of my reading that wasn’t so good even at that age, but whose special introduction to her own private book collection led me to love the world of books.. But I have never forgotten Mrs Woodhouse, whose kindness and encouragement set me to discover the love of words…
    So Take a bow…. For YOU deserve every ounce of praise…

    And this is just one little girl whom you have made a difference too…. Kudos to you Jennie ❤

  24. Dina says:

    Absolutely wonderful, Jennie! ❤

  25. Haroon Mirza says:

    Children are free expressers

  26. I so love this. I remember a little special needs girl I would often see in the thrift store with her mom (how I love my thrift stores too). She would always get so excited and reach out to hug me. Sort of the same story. I always took the time to acknowledge her and say hello and I read to all the children too. The children do remember us for a lot of things

    I made the classroom meaningful for them. When they were studying the alphabet and words to learn to help them remember the letter, I came on the word glider that the teacher. I asked the classroom how many of them knew what a glider was. Not a single hand went up and all of them looked puzzles. So I got out sheets of colored 8 x 11 paper and showed the aides how to show the children to make gliders. Each aide had an equal number of students and all of them were having fun, even the aides. Then when the children would finish their gliders, I would have them bring them up to me, and I would help them to write the word “glider” on one wing.. Then I asked each child if he or she knew how to write his or her name, and I helped them if not (preschoolers). When everyone got finished, they were told they could decorate their gliders, and when they were done with that, we had glider races, 5 children at a time, and the winner of each race got to go against all the other winners when they were done. Everyone was cheering and it was such a good way to spend a rainy afternoon. They all admired each other’s gliders and some decided to do one on one to race some more. I know those children will never forget the word “glider.” You just have to use your imagination and help them understand new words. And the fact that they are doing something fun and different will also help them remember. They all took their gliders home with them, and I watched as some were proudly showing theirs to their parents. Using books is important, and thinking of creative ways to help a child learn a new word in their vocabulary, or doing something that they can get excited about is crucial to children (and the bigger teens too believe it or not). Thank you for your wonderful story, Jennie. You are always such an inspiration.

    • Jennie says:

      What a great glider story! I love how you simply use your heart and natural instincts to teach. Those children are far better because of you. Thank you for making a difference, Anne! 😍

  27. Thank you very kindly, Jannie. I remember in one class of preschoolers I knew could not read, calling each child up to the front one by one to “help me read the story.” Oh how thrilled each child was, believing he or she could magically read together. When they came to the front and stood next to me I had them point to the words to the other children as they were shown the pictures too, and of course they heard a word, so knew it had to be the next word, and for the most part, moved their little fingers right along as I read it slowly for the children. And when they were each finished, we all clapped, so every child felt really good about being “able to read.” Of course they would not learn in a day or perhaps even a week, but for that moment, they were transported into being “readers helping the teacher. We need more pretending because it helps children feel safe and able to do what the teacher tells them they can do. I am sure all the aides thought I was nuts, but it was OK. We have to be willing as you do all the time, to go out on a limb for the children in our care.

    • Jennie says:

      Making children feel special develops self worth. Do that over and over a hundred times and you have given them a foundation. Do that with literacy and you have opened the doors to the world. You were a natural at this, Anne. Bravo!

  28. abbiosbiston says:

    Everyone deserves a bit of a fuss made over them sometimes.

  29. Opher says:

    Love and nurture them. The future depends on that love!

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