Teachers. I know them, I love them, I am one. I believe that teachers have the second most important job in the world after being a parent. Teachers spend more waking hours with our children than we do. They are undervalued and underpaid and deserve much more respect than society generally gives them, yet they continue to show up every day. Although our education system is severely broken, there are so many amazing teachers out there. So when I was asked to write a letter of recommendation for one of the best teachers I have ever known, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Here’s to you Mrs. Miller, we love you and hope that you win!
September 11, 2018
To whom it may concern,
Both of my daughters are extremely privileged to have been students in Mrs. Lori Miller’s classroom at Fox Trail Elementary. There are so many things I can say about Mrs. Miller to demonstrate why she is deserving of the Caliber Award for Teacher of the Year. If you ask any of her students they will tell you that they love her because she makes learning so much fun, but I think that the following story exemplifies best the culture she creates for students in her classroom.
It was the end of the school year and students were giving their 3rd Grade digital presentations. All of the parents were in attendance to watch. Mrs. Miller called students up one by one to present their stories. The kids were AMAZING. Each story was full of great detail, their reading and writing was extraordinary. It was clear from their presentations that they had met the 3rd grade standards of reading and writing. They GOT it! Third grade was a success!
Then Mrs. Miller called “Johnny” up for his presentation. “Johnny” was a new student that came to Fox Trail in the middle of the school year. He struggles with some things that make learning different for him (as my daughter so beautifully explained about her new friend). He came to Mrs. Miller’s classroom where, because they looped together from 2ndgrade, the kids had already known each for over a year. These kids had already forged friendships and already formed a special bond among themselves and with Mrs. Miller. This all was probably overwhelming for “Johnny” and could have made it much more difficult for him to find his place in this classroom.
This day as “Johnny” sat on the carpet with the rest of the class, in front of a roomful of parents, all eyes on him, waiting for him to get up and stand before them, he put his head down, nervous, shy, and clearly not ready. He finally got up to stand next to Mrs. Miller. She gave him the option of turning around with his back to the audience or to cover his face with his paper, but he decided it was all too much and asked to sit back down. Several of the boys from class immediately swarmed around him to make sure he was okay and give him some encouragement. No one laughed, snickered, or thought anything of it. Mrs. Miller called up the next student and presentations continued.
Two more students gave their presentations and then Mrs. Miller looked to “Johnny” and offered him another opportunity. She asked if he would like to have a “support buddy” come stand with him and he said yes. He got up to make his presentation, faced the audience and THIS is what happened…. every single student in the class, completely unprompted, got up and stood around him as he proudly read his story, in its entirety, without skipping a beat. Every. Single. Student. They stood around him to support their friend when he needed it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
THIS is what it is all about and it is more important than any standardized test score will ever be. In a world that is filled with so much hate, these kids have heart. They have learned love, compassion, and kindness in Mrs. Miller’s classroom. These are things that can only be taught through example. They know they are loved and cared for by Mrs. Miller and in turn they have learned to create bonds and friendships that will last forever. This is the kind of classroom where the best learning takes place.