Grade 2 teacher Georgia Aliphtiras was worried when she overheard one student whispering secretly to another, "don't tell your mom".
She wandered over to the girls and asked them what they were talking about. To her relief she discovered that one of the girls was counselling the other to hide her next tooth when she lost it in order to see whether the tooth fairy was real or really just her mother acting the part.
Aliphtiras was surprised that pessimism around the magical world of the fairy had penetrated so early.
"I thought this can't happen, she's only 7," she said.
So Aliphtiras decided to fly under the radar and secretly contact the young girl's parents to let her know about the plot being cooked up..
The message was received loud and clear and even caught the attention of a relative of the little girl, education professor Ken Beatty, who said he was so impressed by the extra steps the teacher took to keep the magic alive for her students and intended to share the incident with all of his teachers in training.
"I'm not sure what awards you give out for 'best teacher ever', but my niece sent me the following email and I believe it typifies all that is good and great about teachers who go beyond the call of duty to ensure the emotional well-being of the children under their care," said Ken Beatty, a Professor of Education at Anaheim University, "I'm sharing it with all my students."
For her part, Aliphtiras says her quest to rescue the tooth fairy from a growing skeptical young mind was natural and important, even though she acknowledges the belief might not last too much longer.
"They are so little. I have a daughter the same age. Kids these days grow up far too fast," she said. "So they should be able to believe these things longer because it is fun."
Now in December, Aliphtiras says that her kids are planning on writing to Santa. The legends of magical characters for young children at Van Horne remain safe for another year.
Creative Commons photo courtesy of edenpictures