The best teachers do a lot more than simply give children an education. They inspire their students to succeed, despite what may be holding them back.
Mrs. Clarkson is a wonderful woman. She made the decision to start teaching because she cares so much about kids.
Different from a lot of teachers, Mrs. Clarkson is able to see that every child is unique and has their own special skills.
She also knows that there are many things which the SATs cannot test for.
While SATs give kids an idea of how they’re performing in math, English and science, they don’t reflect how kind, loving and special each and every child is.
One of her students was Ben Twist. He is autistic. Because of his condition, the chances of Ben scoring highly on his SATs were very low. Despite this, Mrs. Clarkson noticed that Ben was truly studying very hard.
But when results day came around the corner, Ben noticed that he had failed every subject. For a while, he was pretty upset.
Afterwards, Mrs. Clarkson sent Ben something that undoubtedly changed his outlook.
It was a letter. Both Ben and his mother read it, and by the time they’d finished it, Ben’s mother was crying.
The letter started with Mrs. Clarkson congratulating Ben. She reminded him that he had maintained a highly positive attitude throughout his studying. She also noted that Ben completing his SATs was a success on its own.
Mrs. Clarkson had written a letter that really lifted both the mother and Ben’s spirits.
“A very important piece of information I want you to understand is that these tests only measure a little bit of you and your abilities […] Ben Twist is made up of many other skills and talents that we at Lansbury Bridge see and measure in other ways.”
But Mrs. Clarkson wasn’t finished just yet. She continued reminding Ben of everything that he was succeeding in that the SATs couldn’t reflect.
She told both of them that Ben’s artistic talents, his teamwork, his increasing independence, his athletic skills, his friendliness, his design skills and his musical skills were all wonderful.
Mrs. Clarkson then let Ben know that all of those talents and skills showed that he was “continuing to develop as a lovely bright young man.”
She finished her letter by saying “Well done Ben. We are very proud of you.”
In tears. A letter to my 11 yr old autistic son from his school. "These tests only measure a little bit of you" pic.twitter.com/e9OPECidxX
— Gail Twist🐝 (@gailtwist) July 9, 2016
Ben will undoubtedly remember these kind words for the rest of his life. They have wholeheartedly changed the way he thinks about the future. Instead of just having a set of SAT results that say that he is underperforming, Ben has something that is encouraging him to keep going and keep fostering his many positive attributes.
But one thing that Mrs. Clarkson couldn’t have ever anticipated is the praise that her kind words would gather online.
Ben’s mother uploaded the letter on Twitter, telling the world that she was in tears after she had read it.
This tweet has since gathered more than 12,000 likes, 5,800 retweets and 600 comments.
People have been commenting things like this:
Ever since this letter has gone viral, Ben has begun a new school year. He likes his new teachers but misses Mrs. Clarkson dearly.
Each and every single teacher in the world should strive to encourage their students in the way that Mrs. Clarkson has done and keeps on doing so.
If all teachers took a little extra time to remind their students that they all had their own special abilities, people would have much happier, much more fulfilling lives.