It’s been another difficult week for me.  Too many conflicts and not enough comfort—and that’s on me.  I’m a fighter by trade, and am one of those people who never seems completely relaxed unless he’s in the middle of a good argument.

It’s exhausting, though.  I gotta give it a rest.  I’m a walking, breathing example of teacher burnout in action.

That’s why this note—which I found in my mailbox on Friday—is making my “eyes wet” right now:

Dear Mr. Ferriter,

You don’t know how difficult writing this letter is. 

It means admitting that my middle school career is finally drawing to a close.  Three fleeting years have passed in the blink of an eye, and I’m so thankful that you’ve been a part of them.  The year that I spent in your class was one of the most exciting of my life.  For the first time, I enjoyed coming to school each day and reveled in the fun of it all.

You taught me to look at the world in a new perspective.  I learned about all of the things that technology can produce.  I mean, who could forget all of that awesome blogging?  But most of all, you are an all around awesome guy.  You are funny, smart, witty, and can make light of almost any situation.  Thank you so much.

Very truly yours,

I hate using phrases like “these kinds of words are a teacher’s greatest reward” because too many people use that as an excuse to pay teachers nothing for the work that they do, but I will definitely say that these kinds of words mean the world to me.

For whatever reason, teaching is often a thankless grind.  It’s hard, hard work in a profession that is constantly under attack.  We’re battered by criticism—and unrealistic expectations—from every corner.

So when a kid takes the time to say thank you, the world stops for a bit and I remember what it is that I’ve been fighting for.  Touches the ol’ heart, that’s for sure.

This is why I teach.

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