Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A message to my students: 2011

Many years I take the time to write something and then read it to my students at the end of the year. It is my way of saying goodbye and good luck. Believe it or not, there is something inside of each one of you that I like. It is what makes you, you.

I like it when you support one another and work together as a team. I like it when you do your work well and turn it in on time. I like it when you laugh at my jokes or carry my chair in from outside or you tell me something funny, that is school appropriate, of course. I like to see your smiles and hear your laughter.

There are many things that changed throughout this past year. First of all, I am going to tell you a big secret. Listen closely as I say this: I was scared to come and teach sixth grade. It was something new to me after having taught fifth grade for so long and knowing exactly what I was supposed to do and working with people who were my close friends. I was very comfortable doing what I had been doing for several years.

I was so angry when I learned that I had to make a change to come teach sixth grade. But, and this is big, I learned and adapted and eventually thrived.

You did, too.

I made new friends and so did some of you.

I learned new things and so did you.

I learned that some times the thing that scares you the most turns out to be one of the best experiences of your life. It's when you are forced to stretch past your regular boundaries that you find out how far you can really go.

I am going to miss you, yes all of you, even those of you that I yell at a lot. I yell because I care. After you leave on Thursday I will come back to my room and it will seem empty because all of you will be gone. There will be no more basketball or bouncy balls. There will just be silence and all the things left out that I need to pack away.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for summer vacation. I just hope that when you return next year that you will sometimes say hello or smile at me in the hallway. Teachers like that sort of thing. It makes them feel special.

Teachers care about their students, no matter how old or big they get. I remember when I student taught in sixth grade at this very school. Mr. Burridge was a student in that sixth grade class. Now he is all grown up, reeeeeally grown up, and we are colleagues and friends.

It's unusual how life works. You plan to do one thing and sometimes something entirely different happens.

My advice to you is this:

1.) Be kind to one another, even when you don't want to be. You never know how much your smile or kind word or deed will affect someone else.

2.) Take advantage of your time in school to join sports or band and learn new things to the best of your ability. Life is so much easier with a good educational background.

3.) When you leave today try and think of one good time you had with me this year, whether it was watching a movie, reading a novel, practicing and practicing for the state math test, playing Scattegories or another math game, or something else; because, listen closely again, I will be thinking of each one of you and how lucky I was to be your teacher.

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