Goodbye, best teacher ever

Wednesday was supposed to be the last day of school in Calgary. Because of the flooding, however, the school boards cancelled school all week and are opening school doors Thursday so the children will have a chance to say goodbye to their friends and teachers before summer break.

This kind of closure is important for our daughter Avery because her wonderful Grade 2/3 teacher, Mrs. Pomerleau, is leaving.

Avery hugs her teacher in the classroom the day before the class dissects owl pellets.

Avery hugs Mrs. Pomerleau in the classroom the day before the class dissects owl pellets.

At the beginning of the year I blogged about how I thought it was going to be the best year ever because of the gift bag the teacher sent home with the kids on the first day of school. And it was a great year — because of the teacher.

All the kids love Mrs. Pomerleau. She’s kind, patient, creative, knows how to teach and loves being in the classroom. I was continually impressed with the class projects and the knowledge my daughter was suddenly able to dish up at the dinner table. Over the course of the year Avery learned about the culture and life in India, Tunisia, Ukraine and Peru; built and tested different kinds of bridges using blocks and other materials; made an iMovie about alternative energy; and discovered rodent skulls after dissecting owl pellets. She’s gone from knowing 10 + 10 and being able to read the word ‘apple’ in kindergarten, to solving word problems and reading Nancy Drew mysteries in Grade 2.

I’m sure she would have learned these things with any teacher, but Mrs. Pomerleau made learning fun. The kids were always excited about what was going on in the classroom and Avery always wanted to go to school (and often, deliver one of the love letters she’d written to her teacher).

Recently I asked Mrs. Pomerleau what she loves about teaching.

“It’s the kids,” she said. “They’re just so excited to learn. Everything is new to them.” And so it is. Of course, the things she taught them were old hat to her, but Mrs. Pomerleau conveyed all the excitement as if she, too, was discovering new cultures, bridge engineering, alternative energy or owl poop for the first time. Being a great teacher, I now realize, is a special gift.

The kids are sad Mrs. Pomerleau is moving overseas for a year, but the parents are even sadder. It’s not every school year your child thrives so much. Mrs. Pomerleau is leaving some big shoes to fill. Goodbye, best teacher ever.

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