"Best elementary teacher in the four-state area", however, is not the phrase that strikes me as the most meaningful. Really what I like to hear is that section of this parent's more detailed description of what she claims I did for her son four years ago. What I really like to see is the child's words thanking me for helping him when he was at his "lowest point" and had "behavior issues". This is not a letter from the gifted student, the alert student, or the "teacher's pet"; these are the words of a struggler - a kid who hated school and had virtually given up on himself.
From the student:
...I just wanted to make you a letter to show my appreciation for you, you helped me when I was at my lowest point when I [had] behavior issues. There were high[s] and lows but most of my fondest memories are from your 4th grade class. This document may not mean much to you but I can't express my happiness in very many words so just thank you.
From the parent:
I am writing this letter to show appreciation for the outstanding job Mr. Hoggatt has shown so many students, including my son...No[t] only did he find interesting ways to teach his children but worked patiently with my son with every Avenue in school. [My son] went from making lower grades in school to winning an academic scholarship for the child who showed the most academic progress in one year. He teaches the children the importance of manners and how important an education is for their future. He broke through to [my son] that year and [my son] has been on academic track since the 4th grade being in his class. [My son] now in 8th grade still carries those values Mr. Hoggatt taught him just 4 years ago! He's hand's down the best elementary teacher in the 4 state area[. I]n our opinion he deserves this award and many more!