Thank you for all of your contributions to this year. Thank you for being in the class, even when you were not up to it. Thank you for being there, even as you dealt with your own personal issues. Thank you for being there when you were tired, hungry, cranky, and didn’t have a chance to complete your laundry prior to work. Thank you for feeding and clothing our kids. Thank you for being a shoulder they cried into. Thank you for lending an ear when they told you things that they could not even tell their own family members. Thank you for sacrificing your time to work on providing feedback and constructive criticism to help our students improve. Thank you for responding to emails in a timely manner. Thank you for being adaptable. Thank you for coaching other teachers and accepting constructive feedback.
There is so much I can say about the people in this message. Some of you I have known for almost 20 years, while some of you I am still getting to know. We have some amazing teachers who improve the lives of their students on a daily basis. Parents send us their very best every single day. While not always up to our particular standards, they are children who are receptive to love and respect. Some of us have classes full of the “tough nuts” who try our patience and get on our last good nerve, but that is because they need a lot of love, respect, and attention.
Be sure to always smile at and with your students (laugh with them too). Make sure they know how much you care for them. Have a conversation with them sometime about their likes and dislikes. Empathy, patience, and a healthy sense of humor will take us a long way. Likewise…peer collaboration, proper planning, and empowered learning will take us even further. As the parent to a child with AD/HD with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and another child who is a struggling reader; I know the importance of a great teacher.
Know that if a child walks out of your classroom next week and you do not know about them as a person, you need to improve your future relationships with students. They need someone who truly cares about them. When the bonds of trust form, there is nothing that child will not do for you. They will go the extra mile for you. In turn, your disciplinary issues decline and your student performance increases.
Teaching content in isolation is impossible. You are so much more than a teacher. You are a messenger. A storyteller. A healer. A listener. You are a person who brings stability to those who may not know stability. A person who shows a child the world they may not ever know, but dream to know. You are someone who can inspire greatness. As with all things comes great responsibility. Be responsible with your influence.
Rest up. Enjoy your time with friends and family. Travel. Explore. Get lost in a great book. Learn something new that is not connected to your main career. Binge watch a Netflix show. Take your kids or grandkids on an adventure. Cook an amazing meal. Embrace peace and quiet, when possible.
Thank you for helping me become a better teacher and curriculum specialist. I am here to support you and help you when you need it. See you in August, if not sooner.