Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dear Student: Looking Back

Dear Student,

How are you? It has been a number of years since I've seen anyone from your class, but I still think of you all often. It's funny; every year that I have new students, one or two of them will have similar features or mannerisms that remind me of other students who have been in my class previously. At the beginning of the school year, while I am learning all of their names, I will occasionally call someone by the name of a former student. I don't do it on purpose; it just seems to happen.

The other day I found a letter that you wrote me. I was surprised because it wasn't where I usually keep letters from my kids; it was in a binder that I used while working with your class. Reading it brought back a flood of great memories from my time with your class: field trips, theme days, blogging, books that we read in class, and all sorts of other daily events.  I don't know if there was a specific reason that you wrote it, maybe Teacher Appreciation Week or the end of the school year, but it is still something special that I'll cherish, like a green apple candle. Reading what you wrote, I couldn't help but smile.

At the time, you wrote that I was the best teacher in the world and that you wished you could be in my class forever. Although you cannot be in my class forever, you will always be one of my kids. I know that may sound funny to people outside of the world of education, but I hope that one day you will realize the extent of "once my student, forever one of my kids". Hopefully you have had many teachers since then that are your favorites and you feel that they are the best teachers in the world. Teachers who are not only a joy to learn from, but who challenge you to think outside the box, to want to learn more. Teachers who inspire you to make the world a better place and encourage you through whatever challenges you face. Most importantly, teachers who care about you, more than as just a student, but as a person existing outside academia.

Remember as you grow older that just because something does not come easily does not mean that you cannot do it, or that you will never be good at it, or that you are not smart. Some things will come easier to others, and that's fine. Your value and abilities are not based on someone else's capabilities. Never give up and always put in your best effort. Occasionally you will become frustrated and discouraged; it happens to all of us. Get help if you need it, but push through and learn everything that you can from the experience.

I hope that you are doing well, that you are learning and growing into the amazing young person that I know that you can be. I hope that you are continuing to make good choices and be a positive role model for your peers. I hope that you are still have a kind and compassionate heart for others, even when it might not be popular. I hope that you realize that something you do, even something that seems so small, can change the world.

Wishing you all the best,
Your Teacher

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