Year after year, I am moved by the honesty and candor of these letters. And yesterday was no exception.
The Power continues….
We started a new semester yesterday, and that means new classes, new students, new beginnings. Already I am reminded why I continue in this work after 29 years of early risings, stacks of essays, late nights, and thousands of students.
Due to an extended homeroom period, our classes were only an hour long. First days are always filled with objectives, expectations, procedures, and a little introduction to the world of reading and writing.
I teach Senior English, so for my seniors, this was the first day of the last semester of their high school careers. At the end of the hour, I explained their “studying” (I use that word instead of “homework”). Students are to write me a letter covering three topics: their goals, their learning challenges, and how I can help them be successful.
Year after year, I am moved by the honesty and candor of these letters. And yesterday was no exception. Students shared personal fears and frustrations, life challenges including illnesses and family drama, hopes and desire to succeed and grow as students and soon-to-be adults.
One girl wrote “Another helpful thing is to never give up on me”, while another student said, “You can help me by not losing patience with me, even though I sometimes don’t get things the first time.”
But one letter reminded me, once again, of the power of the teacher. Remember, I had only been around this student for one hour when she penned these goals for the semester:
- Become a better overall student
- Give 100% towards all of my work
- Do great on Senior Project, but also enjoy it
- Make Ms. Gardner proud
#4—OMG. How do I deserve that privilege after just one class? How do I deserve that kind of respect? Why am I given this gift?
It’s because I am a teacher. I promise not to abuse that power. Thank you for letting me teach you. Together, we will make each other proud.