Today was my son Theo’s last day of 4th grade. It hasn’t been his easiest year, as he was unsure about his friendships at the start and struggled with aspects of his work throughout the year. However, mostly thanks to his main teacher, Mrs. Chan (mentioned in my January 12 blog), who was firm and encouraging throughout the year, he managed to end the year well with a decent report card and a certificate that read “Best Improvement in Attitude.” He also seems to have found himself socially and has a good group of friends. Perhaps because it was such a challenging year and has ended better than I had imagined, I got very emotional today as I thanked his teachers and wished fellow parents a good summer.
In particular, I wanted to thank Mrs. Chan, and I gave her some bracelets that I actually purchased especially for her, something I haven’t been doing much of this year. However, I also wanted to give her something of mine that would be meaningful and perhaps useful to her in her future classes. Because she had let me teach her class origami a couple of times during the year, I gave her the book Origami Magic by Florence Temko, one of the great pioneers of origami in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. I came to know of her when I was planning my first exhibition of contemporary origami art, Folding Paper, a few years ago. Temko was a great educator and author on the subject, writing over 55 books on the subject and helping to make the art of paper folding hugely popular in this country. The book contains many great designs, explained at the right level for Mrs. Chan to use with her students next year. I love the idea that the knowledge acquired by one skillful teacher and can be passed along by another.
I will miss working with and learning from Theo’s kind and talented teacher, but like Theo, I have to accept this change and move on through another summer and onto all the challenges that await us in the coming school year.