(Funny side note: My mom, sarcastically, mentioned that she was disappointed when the entire "S" post was not about her, Sharon. So mom, this little note is for you. She's awesome. You should know her. And eat her food. )
Also, thanks for all your thoughts on our "something" to buy with the extra I get this month. We'll keep you posted.
In my S post below I mentioned writing my students an "end of the year letter/reflection." I thought I would share it with all of you, so you too could see into my little corner of the world for a minute. Enjoy:
Dear 8th Grade Students of 2008-2009:
Before classes started this year, I wrote myself a letter. In this letter I reminded myself why I wanted to teach, just in case all of you persuaded me otherwise :). In this letter I told myself the following:
I am writing this so you remember what it is like to be passionate about your job… You’ll get tired. You’ll get sick of the routine. But so will your students and they’re looking to you to see if you will break this time. Don’t break. Let them know you need their support as much as they need yours. Let them know that you expect the world from them… and don’t ever stop believing that they’ll give you anything less. Don’t ever become too proud to learn from your students.
When papers stack up to grade, write each comment with compassion, like you always said you would. Your students read your scribbled writing in blue and they read, “Be sure to show not tell and it will make this beautiful story even stronger,” and they also hear in those words, “Someone is still taking the time to believe in you.”
Above all, remember that you love what you do. And remember that nothing done in love is ever wasted.
I hope you have seen a reflection of this in some small way this year.
I honestly could not have asked for a better first year than the year I spent with all of you. Whether we were laughing at backward pants or my “word” to Will Smith in 3rd Block, or a funny anecdote, mafia, or “Captain Canada” in 4th, we somehow covered the material and learned something along the way. Even in 5th Block when we listened to my embarrassing stories and Max’s phone died…again, or in 6th as we laughed about “Mrs. Irwin’s view of 6th Block” through Writer’s Notebook, or heard Jeff break into song, we somehow became, although slightly strange, one big family.
Thanks for writing beautiful words, and for discussing books deeply. Thanks for making me windows and pictures so I didn’t get severe seasonal depression J. Thanks for your attempts at improv, your enthusiasm during review games, your beautiful and humorous poetry, and for understanding the lesson on the writing process (even if it meant feeding you ice cream sundaes)! Although some of you hated it, I hope you remember practicing “stillness,” and what it felt like to truly be still and quiet and alone with your thoughts.
Thank you for inspiring me to become a writer again. I will never forget the day you all wrote in your Writer’s Notebooks, “Why I Write.” I read your entries and knew I was learning far more from you. (I attached the list so that somewhere down the road if you forget, you can look and remember why you ever filled an entire notebook with your writing in the first place.)
I’m going to leave you with a poem I wrote when I was first in the classroom doing my student teaching:
in a routine world
of read and write this
is thirsyt on their tongues
working for their own identity
a true friend
they want meaning
they want to
do meaningful work
so it’s up to you
to convince the sons and daughters
of both wealth and need
that they have a great story
that they are a great story
and that you are listening
Why do I share this with you now? Because I hope you have felt meaningful; that you have felt listened to. I hope as you continue your education at the high school that you will continue to feel this. And always remember, even after you leave room 138 and SOMS, that you have a great story…you are a great story & I have been listening…
Best of luck at all you do! “Oh the places you will go!” :)