There is no doubt in my mind that there are many fabulous, dedicated teachers in the world. I have been lucky enough to know quite a few of them. Some of were blessed with the challenge of putting up with me as a student, some of them were blessed with the challenge of teaching my children, and I am certain there are plenty out there that I have yet to encounter.
The teacher I want to shine a spotlight on today is one who deserves praise, recognition and all sorts of wonderful blessings. She came into our life when I was beginning to lose hope and has been nothing short of a miracle worker with my second grade son. Miss Carolyn Ruhnow has the ability to see what a child needs and advocate for them. My son is a perfectionist, has trouble adapting to new situations, is shy and incredibly sensitive. It took him six months to speak directly to one of his former teachers. In sports, he would refuse to play for fear of making a mistake. When he entered second grade, he could only read a few words, had a hard time with school and would (still) cry every day when he got there. In a few short weeks, things started to turn around. I didn't have to fight, beg or bribe him to go to school. His brothers told me he stopped crying every day when I dropped him off. Miss Ruhnow took the time to talk to me. More importantly, she took the time to listen to me, to understand how I felt and what I had been trying for years to accomplish with him.
I could tell by her thoughts that she had taken the time to get to really know my son. She didn't treat him like a nuisance like so many adults (teachers, coaches, other parents) had. Too many people didn't have faith in him. They couldn't see the potential that I knew was there. You see, my son is smart enough to know when an adult has written them off, deemed them as unteachable and won't take the time to help him. It has left him very hesitant and shy around new people. She had somehow managed in a very short period of time to gain his trust, which doesn't come easy. She made sure he is getting the help he needs socially and educationally at school. She offers her students the perfect balance of care, discipline, leadership and support. My son can now confidently read. He performed a solo in front of his class. He joined soccer and is doing quite well at it. Every step of the way she has been there supporting us, cheering him on, celebrating his accomplishments. She understands how things so small to some kids are momentous to others. She sees that not every child learns the same, but they all deserve the same chance to be able to learn. Miss Carolyn Ruhnow is not just a teacher. She is a gift to every student blessed with the opportunity to be in her class. I will be eternally grateful that my son was privileged enough to have such an extraordinary role model in his life.
Carolyn Ruhnow is a second grade teacher at Rice Lake Elementary in Lino Lakes, MN.
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