Bittersweet: 1. being at once bitter and sweet; especially: pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret.
Like I said, it took a while for the two of them to find their groove. There were times when Mrs. M pushed too hard and Ryan would cry and completely shut down. There were times he had to stay in over recess in order to complete work because he got stuck and needed her help and attention. It was frustrating for both of them. Mrs. M could have taken the easy way out for both of them and let Ryan "slide". We have all heard the horror stories of children who continue to move on to the next grade and the next only to discover down the road....often when it's too late....that the child is years behind due to "sliding". No way was Ryan, or any child in Mrs. M's classroom, going to "slide" through second grade. There were many occasions where Ryan would get overwhelmed, stuck and close himself off and Mrs. M would lose him for a while, but she would fight for him and always find a way to bring him back. It took those moments of pushing Ryan harder than he liked and challenging him more than felt comfortable, to make him achieve more than he thought he could, to make him feel like he really mattered, and to make him smile in confidence at the work he accomplished. Mrs. M made all the difference.
When I finally decided to share Ryan's diagnosis and THE evaluation with the school district, it was determined that a 504 Plan would benefit Ryan. A 504 Plan allows accommodations in the classroom, but still keeps the student in regular education, not special education. Walking into Ryan's first 504 meeting I was utterly terrified, overwhelmed and immediately began to sob. I felt like Mrs. M was my only ally in the room, aside from Denial. With several of the recommended accommodations, the guidance counselor would "tut, tut, tut" with a "that's out of the realm of the regular ed teacher's scope of duties" and with each "tut, tut, tut", Mrs M. responded with a "I can do it", or "I will do it" or "It's no problem". All. The. Difference. My gosh how I love her.
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
-A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh