I truly do believe I have the best job in the world. I don't have to tell you: being a teacher is amazing. But being a teacher-blogger is a whole new world of awesome. I get to enjoy all of the little miracles that happen in my classroom each day as I watch my students grow, but that is just the beginning. When I step out of the classroom and sit at my computer to work on the blog, a whole new kind of magic happens. I have the privilege of improving the experiences of other teachers in the trenches. And sometimes, I get to help thank an educator for their dedication. This is the story of one such teacher. I would like to you meet Kathy Rimmel.
Thank you to Stitch Fix for partnering with me to sponsor today's blog post and honor a very special local teacher. All opinions are my own and I only support brands I absolutely love. This post also contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.
The story of how I met Kathy actually goes back a few months. If you read the blog often, you know that I am a faithful Stitch Fix customer. Many Stitch Fix customers are fashionable teachers who are short on time and love the convenience of the service. Stitch Fix wanted to recognize a local teacher for her dedication and surprise her with a gift basket to show their appreciation. They reached out to me and I jumped at the opportunity to recognize a fellow educator. It took a little detective work, but I soon learned all about Kathy – a kindergarten teacher at Erie Elementary School in Chippewa Valley Schools. She reads the blog often, LOVES Stitch Fix as much as I do and only teaches a few miles from my school.
I emailed with Kathy's principal, Dr. Jerry Evanski a few weeks before the surprise. I sent one of the more awkward emails of my life. It went something like this
“Hi, my name is Maria and you don't know me, but your kindergarten teacher Kathy knows who I am because I have a blog called Kinder Craze. Sometimes I write about clothes and I really want to surprise Kathy with a gift basket from a clothing service that she loves. I know it sounds crazy, but I'm pretty sure it will be a happy surprise….
Ok, maybe it didn't go exactly like that but you get the idea.
Fortunately, Dr. Evanski didn't even bat an eye and he graciously invited me into his school so I could deliver my Stitch Fix surprise to Kathy.
I'm not sure why, but I was so nervous!
As we walked down the hall to the kindergarten wing, Dr. Evanski informed me that Kathy really values structure in her classroom and he couldn't completely blindside her. (I completely understood and I'm sure you're nodding your head in agreement right now too.) He told Kathy that there was a surprise in store for her at 2:45, but he didn't tell her what it was. He stepped into the classroom ahead of me to talk to the students (and Kathy) and explain that she had a special guest.
The surprised look on Kathy's face when I finally stepped into the classroom was absolutely priceless!
And when I handed Kathy the special gift basket that Stitch Fix curated for her… well, the photo sort of speaks for itself!
(And PS – there really needs to be a principal appreciation week because Dr. Evanski then led this class of kindergarteners in a cheer for their teacher. Our profession needs more administrators like him!)
I think for a few seconds, everyone in the room was sort of overwhelmed by the moment and didn't quite know what to do with ourselves.
There's no such thing as a break for a kindergarten teacher. Kathy quickly admired the lovely basket and grabbed a sweet smelling lotion to show the class.
She rejoined the class and held out the lotion for everyone to smell. She even offered a little dab of lotion to anyone who wanted to give it a try. One of her students pointed out that “sharing is caring” and it was obvious that Kathy truly is a caring teacher.
I stayed to enjoy story time with the class. It was such a treat to sit down and listen to a story from the perspective of a student in the class. As teachers, we're always the ones turned on and making sure everything stays on schedule. It was an honor to sit and learn by observation.
After the story it was time for the students to pack up and go home. I lingered so I could talk to Kathy and visit for a bit. We also took some time to admire all of the treasures in her gift basket from Stitch Fix.
Of course, no Stitch Fix surprise would be complete without a gift card and a tote because well… teachers.
I truly had the best time chatting with Kathy about all things kindergarten.
I was just getting ready to wind things down and say my goodbyes when Kathy's principal, Dr. Evanski, returned saying that word had gotten out that I was in the building. I knew that Kathy knew who I was, but I wasn't expecting a troop of teachers to stop by and say “hi!” To say that I was surprised was an understatement!
As you might expect, Kathy's colleagues were equally wonderful and passionate about education.
We snapped a group photo before I had to go.
Jim, Erica, Danielle, Melissa, Laci and Patricia… it was a pleasure meeting all of you. Thank you so much for popping in to say hi. You made my day!
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to Kathy and every other educator that reads this post. The work you do is truly appreciated and you make a difference in the lives of your students every single day!
Thank you so much to Stitch Fix for collaborating with me on this very special Teacher Appreciation surprise. It was an experience I will never forget! Thank you also to Dr. Evanski and Erie Elementary School for your hospitality and for inviting me to drop in during the school day. Finally, thank you to E'Lisa from EC Campbell Photography for capturing these lovely images.
You can read more about Stitch Fix, my fashion obsession, and complete details for my outfit in this blog post.