After many years teaching at Del Dayo Elementary School in Carmichael, California, my mom Betsy Rectenwald is retiring this year. The picture above features Mom, myself, and my late Grandma Cornelia, who was also a lifetime educator. Just as Mom learned from her mom, so I learned from her.
A colleague wrote her of her gratitude and this touched Mom deeply – never underestimate the power of a letter of gratitude as a beloved teacher retires:
“I will never forget what you did for students who were the most marginalized. No one could have done what you did…and I know it was hell, but you did it because you never throw anyone away! You changed an entire grade levels outlook and way of supporting each other, and gave them a chance. But remember all the students that didn’t require your Blood Sweat and Tears, that just soaked up your passion and love and insight, and knowledge! The life long skills and love of learning they will always have – because you instilled it in them. And you have been such a soldier…an advocate for your kids no matter what. We had a big discussion a few years ago during MTSS about a student who remains on our radar because you would not let it go, or stand by and quietly watch a student be neglected or forgotten. You are inspirational to me and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to work with you.”
Mom helped spark a love of learning and a passion for knowledge paired with ethical decision making in all of her students, and I was one of her first ones. She will continue to do so with the reading and writing business she has started, PenMove. Congrats, Mom! Love, Erin.