Edward spent most of last year curled up in a ball on the floor of his classroom with his hands pressed over his ears and it was... so painful and confusing. Steve and I could not reconcile the Edward we knew with the tortured kindergartner the school described. We struggled to find ways to help him and everything we did (counseling, medication) and the school did (timeouts, emails home, counseling, more counseling) seemed to make things worse.
We moved him for first grade not because we had any reason to believe that this new school would be better but because we simply could not imagine a bottom lower than the rock upon which he had settled by May.
So I don't know if he matured or the old school was just a really terrible fit for him or the new teacher is a miracle worker (probably a combination of all three with a heavy emphasis on the teacher) but this year has been a complete turnaround. We had parent conferences a week or two ago (did I tell you this already? if so, I'm sorry) and I sat in the tiny chair across the little round table from Edward's teacher and tried not to cry all over her neck while she told me how much she loves Edward and how pleased she has been to have him in her class.
Edward later confided in me that he is pretty sure that he is the smartest kid in the first grade and he thinks his teacher thinks so too.
"Mrs T knows that all of us in her class are the best something," he told me, which I think might be the greatest encomium for a teacher I have ever heard.
The first graders ran the April assembly. They wrote skits and then performed them in front of the whole school. I didn't even try not to cry when Edward appeared on the stage for his portrayal of Bullying Victim #1; I just threw my coat over my head and bawled.
From potato bug to thespian in twelve months - there are probably words to describe how proud and grateful I am but I cannot find them.
PS Yes, per everything you have told me about schools, I promise I am going to write a letter to the director telling him that Edward's first grade teacher wasn't just amazing, she was literally life-changing.