continuation of S...

(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:

May 2009
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:

frozen faces
in a routine world
of read and write this

response, intrigue
is thirsyt on their tongues

tired eyes
tired bodies
working for their own identity
acceptance &
a true friend

they want meaning
they want to
be meaningful
do meaningful work

so it’s up to you
dear teacher
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!” :)


Kali said...

Love it, Kels! Even though I never got to be in your classroom this year, I know you've done a wonderful job. You've always been a teacher...now you just get paid for it :)

One tip for next year -- never ever forget to take lunch count.

bridger said...

Just as you have spent your first year in the classroom as a teacher, I have spent the first year of my life since age 5 not it the classroom. There is no doubt in my mind that we are both exactly where we should be. I must say that as your former teacher in you short-lived band career, I often wondered if I had somehow short-changed you in your music education. (No, I did not put that big hunk of chewing gum in your French horn! :) ) But I have realized over the years that I have rarely heard more beautiful music than I hear when you write from your heart. You express your love of life and teaching and children in a masterful way. I am a big fan of your blog because although I never heard soaring french horn music, here, you really do write "words that sing!" Congratulation on your first year of teaching and for staying true to your heart and your students.

*carrie* said...


Appreciated this post, as I'm sure your students appreciated the letter you gave them! My English teacher wrote our senior class a poem and I still remember some of it . . .

After I wrote my comment on your previous post, I read an article that said this is a great time to buy TVs--it was a list of the top-10 deals during this time of recession, and TVs were #1!

Micah Wolf said...

love this post more than words can express. can't wait to see you on your summer break! it is soon