First-year teacher makes a great first impression

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ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - In her first year as a kindergarten teacher, Lauren Rainwater made quite an impression.

So much so, that a mom and her daughter felt the Big Spring Lake Elementary teacher deserved WHNT News 19's Tools for Teachers Award.

After reading their nomination for Rainwater, along with the heartfelt testimony below, we couldn't agree more. So, on a recent weekday, our WHNT News 19 crew surprised Rainwater with $319 for her classroom and printed versions of these heartfelt notes.

Read on... and be prepared to shed a tear or two.

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Note to Mrs. Rainwater:

The first day of Kindergarten is probably one of the scariest times for a child, but possibly even more so for the Mommy. It's a time that we have to let go of our child and trust that their teacher will not only teach them all they need to know, but also that they will be kept safe. This is a day that I had feared since the day Cheyenne was born. When the day arrived, I was also 8 1/2 months pregnant and even more emotional that usual.

I got the phone call that Mrs. Rainwater would be Cheyenne's kindergarten teacher and I have to admit--I was a tad nervous that she was a first year teacher. I was afraid that she would be too "by the book" and that it wouldn't be a great year. Boy, was I wrong!! The first time I met Mrs. Rainwater was for "Meet your teacher" day at BSLK. She was energetic, sweet, and very loving towards these children she'd just met! I had no doubts at that point. My husband and I brought Cheyenne in for her first day of Kindergarten and Mrs. Rainwater had them sit at the table with some fun activities. Cheyenne was ready for her day, not a bit sad! I was so very grateful for that!

A few months later, I had the privilege of joining her class on the field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Again, she was so energetic and sweet. While waiting for the next activity, she kept the children entertained with a fun game of Duck, Duck, Goose. The kids loved that she was running and chasing them. She joined in on each activity throughout the day. At the end of the year, we went to the Birmingham Zoo and she was just as fun as on the first trip!

It's great to have a fun teacher, but one of my favorite things about Mrs. Rainwater is that she communicates so well with parents. My daughter had an issue with another child picking on her at one point. I immediately contacted Mrs. Rainwater and she didn't waste any time making certain that the situation was handled. She assured me that it was taken care of and would notify me if there were any other issues. Not only would she keep in contact with me about serious things, but she also would send me random messages telling me about something silly that Cheyenne had said in class or if she had done something that I'd be proud of. She even sent me a picture when Cheyenne lost a tooth! It helped me to feel at ease with not being with my baby girl all the time.

Another wonderful thing about Mrs. Rainwater is that she loves her babies as her own. I know everyone always says that, but she proves it day in and day out. She has made it a point to visit Cheyenne at T-Ball practice, Cheerleading games, and even attended her Baptism. She has even built a relationship with my younger daughter, who will be starting Kindergarten in August of 2016.

I am so grateful for the wonderful year we were able to share with Mrs. Rainwater. I can't think of a teacher more deserving of this honor. She is a ray of sunshine in any child's life!
Thank you, Mrs. Rainwater for taking the time to TEACH my child, to GUIDE my child, and most of all to LOVE my child. May God bless you in the years to come!

-Jenna Glass

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A note from Cheyenne Glass:

Mrs. Rainwater was silly and always playing tricks on us. She taught us cool ways to learn our letters and sounds. She acted goofy and sang silly songs to help us learn. She would pretend that markers were microphones. She brought us toys to play with. She let us play outside. She came to my ballgames and that made me very happy! She was always so excited! She was a very fun teacher and I love her very much!

I love you Mrs. Rainwater!

-Cheyenne Glass