'Tis the season for teacher appreciation gifts! Unfortunately, 'tis also the season for saying goodbye to some of the teachers we will not meet again in the next school year. Our family has finally graduated from preschool and this has been Kate's last year with the wonderful teachers who have taught all our girls since Emily first began her journey down the hallowed hallways of formal education. A journey without a break, incidentally. Our girls are so close in age that not only was every year since 2008 a preschool year for someone, there was even a year in which two someones were simultaneously in preschool - one in the morning and one in the afternoon (manic driving schedule that year, I remember). We really packed those preschool years in!
But, suddenly, it's all over. No more standing in line, visiting with other moms and dads, while waiting to pick up a kid (or two). No more clock-watching between errands to navigate the complicated drop-kid-off-meet-other-kid-at-bus-stop-pack-everyone-in-car-to-pick-up-first-kid timetable of efficiency and madness that was my life for the past five years. Of course I won't miss some parts of it (like the 15-minute lunches whose success I credit totally to the Delay Start Preheat function of my oven). But other parts, yes.
The girls have had some incredible teachers at their preschool. One of them, who was also their principal for a time, had a wealth of knowledge from having been in every conceivable job previously. You could ask her anything (which we did) and she'd know the answer. Like why school buses had no seat belts. She knew the answer to that (of course), because she'd been a school bus driver before. And she sewed. She'd bring photos of her daughter's prom dress which she made and we'd have a chat about sewing and patterns while Jenna packed up her backpack for the day and bid goodbye to her classmates.
When Emily was in her second year of preschool, we lost one of her teachers to a long illness. It was a hard year for everyone - so much sadness and adjustment and everyone standing in for everyone else at the last minute. It was also a wonderful testimony to the strength and fortitude of this preschool staff - they brought the kids (and themselves) through the grief process, transitioned smoothly through the resulting staff reorganization and let us, the parents, take care of them and the family of the teacher we'd lost. They made us feel like we weren't outsiders in our children's education and learning. And at the end of every school year, I always feel as if I don't quite know how to thank them. It's not only because they are skilled and patient instructors - they're also proud and protective mothers, tactful intervention specialists and wise counselors. I am so grateful that they are the ones with whom I've trusted my children's early education.
So this year - as we officially say goodbye and thank you, I couldn't possibly make them yet another tote bag. I've done the tote-bag thing to death, really - reversible kid-art tote, morphing wallet kid-art tote, market basket kid-art tote, lunch bucket kid-art tote, drawstring pouch tote ... I mean, is there a tote I haven't made and kid-arted for these amazing ladies?
No totes, then.
Superhero accoutrements instead. For that is what preschool teachers are, right? I saw these hats here last year and saved the idea for when the day came for us to pay our own tribute.
freezer paper stencil
and hand-painted details.
Those are their superhero initials, in their favorite colors.
Incidentally, when I was a teacher, I didn't deserve these hats because teaching high school physics was not a superhero job. Sure, I could teach the relationship between diffraction and interference in my sleep. But training preschoolers to sit still and raise their hands politely during circle time? Or to share the last plastic T-Rex in the toy box? See - now that's a superhero job.