Of all of the gifts that I received as a teacher, gift cards were my least favorite. Gifts from the heart were the greatest.
Leslie would walk to school every morning with her sister and brother. The trail on which they walked was flanked by dirt, broken pieces of concrete and rock. Just off the trail were wild flowers, which at certain times of the year, were overgrown and abundant.
Leslie would arrive to school and come directly to my office where I was either 1. prepping and gathering my materials for the day, or 2. not there because I was in a meeting.
Regardless of my presence or absence, she would leave me a gift: a rock, a chunk of concrete, a pile of small wildflowers (carried in her palm the rest of the way to school), an origami box or a plastic mardi gras necklace that she had crafted in to an animal (twisted and turned, balloon animal-style).
In my office, she would tell me about what she had for breakfast, about her outfit for the day or we would work on writing. She needed oral practice before she wrote her thoughts with paper and pencil, and I was her "go-to". Then, she would hand me my gift. Every day.
If I was not there, she would leave it on my desk in the same spot, so I wouldn't miss it. Every day.
After months of this, I had amassed quite a collection of objects. I brought in a glass jar so I could keep my treasured gifts in sight.
I guess I'm sharing this for a few reasons:
Every child needs "that teacher" at school that makes them feel special. I was very fortunate to be that for Leslie.
Every child needs a "go-to" person whether it's for extra support or a friendly face.
Every child can grow with caring and the right supports.
But most importantly, it never mattered what the gift was. What mattered most to me was Leslie found or made something every day she thought was special and gave it to me. What an honor to be the recipient of such thoughtful gifts.
In case you were wondering, I still have the plastic mardi gras necklace that was crafted in to a giraffe... it's spectacular.