Friday, March 2, 2012

A Gift of Words

Slice # 3 - SOLSC - with Stacy and Ruth at the Two Writing Teachers blog.  Join us!!








Thanks to all for the comments.  It's such a supportive thing to hear what others think.


     As a teacher, one mostly lives in the present and the future.  Life fills up with so many tasks, it's difficult to look back to former students and wonder what they're doing.  I am friends on Facebook with some, most of them grown by now, but there are a few students I think of now and then and wonder how they're doing, if they're happy with their choices of high school, friends, classes, etc.  Some of these students I had for three years; we became very close.  When I wrote about Expo at our school a few weeks ago I was looking forward to seeing some alums who return to visit.  If you read my post you know I visited everyone's display and took many photos.  I stayed as long as possible, but had to leave early for personal reasons.  I missed seeing any of the alumni who came to visit.



          I was sad, but sometimes circumstances change what can happen, and I had to give up the evening.  Expo was a success and that was important too and I had been able to congratulate so many students and their teachers for all the accomplishments.
      When I returned to school the next time, I had some wonderful compensation.  Several notes from my former students sat on my desk saying how sad they were not to find me there.  One, a senior now, wrote with such maturity I could see that he had grown up and was getting ready for his next step, college.  Although I didn't get to see him in person, like here in the slices, I 'heard' who he was in his note.  He ended his long note about what he was doing and his future plans like this:  I would be lying if I said I did not miss being in your class.  I regret not coming back more and above all else, I miss your advice: your willingness to take time and hear what a student is saying is lacking in some of my classes.  Thank you for everything, Linda.  No one could have prepared me better.
      Again, I am sad that I missed the visit, but the gift given meant so much too.  I am grateful.

28 comments:

  1. Wow! What a gift with those words! Isn't that just what teaching is all about? It would have been nice if more teachers could have given this student what you were able to give. But at least you seem to have given him what he needed to take on the world.

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  2. Linda,

    Your care and concern for your students always shows in your writing. I bet many of them miss being in your class.

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  3. That truly is a special gift. How wonderful to know how much you effected that young man. (and probably many others)

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  4. Sometimes I think people underestimate the gift of words. When parents ask me what teachers "really would love" for a gift, I always tell them to write a heartfelt note, along with having the child write, too. Yes, I appreciate any gifts I receive, but those notes get tucked away and read over and over.

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  5. Wow -- I think every teacher hopes for one of those notes on our desk one of these days. Time passes, but we hope the insights and lessons stick. Thanks for sharing!
    Kevin

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  6. Sometimes it means so much more to come back and see these notes left on our desk or on the board. I think our physical absence allows for our students to take a moment to really think about what they want to say. What a testament to all you do for your kids!

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  7. And now you have the written note to cherish (and pull out on the days you think 'why am I doing this?) Every so often I receive an email from a student who has moved. It is so nice to 'hear' their maturity and get a glimpse into what life is like however many years later. Don't lose that note!

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  8. What a special gift to treasure! As an elementary teacher, I receive the cute little "I love you" pictures, but this was an amazing note from a smart young man to a dedicated and loving teacher!

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  9. How precious! You know you've made the difference in another's life and he put it so eloquently! It's what we all dream of ~ you're living the dream! :)

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  10. So beautiful, Linda - this young man's writing is mature, gracious, genuine. I am not surprised at the content of his note at all. You've obviously had a profound effect on this young man, and I am so glad that he's the type of person that would take the time to let you know. I'm sure there are many many others who feel similarly, but just haven't taken the moment to tell you.

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  11. I hope that you have a little treasure box where to keep notes like this. On a rainy day these will brighten a day.

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  12. Thanks for sharing this, Linda. Save that note--pull out on one of those days when you aren't sure what you are doing is making a difference. Because you do make a difference and this note is a wonderful testament to that!

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  13. To know that what you've done has really made a positive difference in the life of another human being - that is a real treasure. I'm so glad you received that wonderful gift of words!

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  14. And this happens to be one who stopped by to tell you, there are so many more who feel the same way. How nice to read his words, "No one could have prepared me better." So heartfelt.

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  15. Wowza - that is an amazing note. It truly brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes when the climate of education gets me down I find I can be brought back to a good spot by thinking of the students I have reached. How I've changed their lives and they have changed mine. Thanks for sharing this, Linda.

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  16. That' so amazing. I've always dreamed of being a teacher for that reason:) Thank you for sharing:)

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  17. What a wonderful gift
    I have been telling families that the best gift they can give me is a note about how being a part of our school community impacted their family. Just love those gifts of words

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  18. That is so nice. It reminded me of a note I got from a mom that had moved to our school when her son was in second grade. She thanked me for being so welcoming to her and her sons, (she was a single mom of four young boys). The letter was very sweet, but the funny thing is now...seven years later, my daughter is dating her oldest son.
    Funny how life works.
    Tammy

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  19. Students' words can be the best gifts of all! You've made me remember back to a couple of weeks ago when one of my students from last year made such a difference in my day, just at the right time. How wonderful that they took the time to write to you when they saw you weren't there! I hope you saved those notes in a special place to look back at on the tough days!

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  20. wow...and it doesn't happen that often.. especially because the kids are really in their own worlds so much of the time...treasure

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  21. Wow-- that note goes in the SAVE file for sure. I love knowing that I work in a profession where the work we do really does make a difference. And so grateful for the colleagues I have encountered on the journey…

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  22. I hope you are going to get Same Sun Here and read along with Colby and I this month because the book really celebrates written expression and how we seem to be much more candid and honest in writing than in real life. What an awesome note to get from a student. That is so great! It makes me want to contact some of my favorite teachers from high school...maybe I will!

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  23. What a gift you have given that student, as is evidenced in his note to you.
    I love that you give that same gift to adults as well. In only 3 days, I have felt your support of learning about me as a person in this Slice of Life community. Thanks so much for stopping to read what I have and then responding in turn.

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  24. Linda,
    That note had to make your day. I love hearing from past students. Facebook has certainly made it easier to keep in touch with some of them. We always hope we are making a difference, and from the sound of that note you most definitely are doing just that.

    Cathy

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  25. Linda- I loved your story. Thanks for telling it. Isn't it wonderful when former students come back and let us know how we touched their lives? It really makes the day-to-day dealing with assessment tests, unruly students and parents, and all the paperwork worth it! You sound like a fabulous teacher!
    Linda

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  26. Hi Linda,
    It's exciting to connect with a Colorado neighbor! I've joined your blog and look forward to more reflections on teaching. I love the story you tell here. This summer, I went to the wedding of a former kindergarten student--amazing to watch these kids grow and change and become responsible adults. Now that I am a K-6 literacy coach, I enjoy being more intimately involved with students throughout their elementary careers. But, alas, time goes by too fast, yes? And, now I have my very own 4 year old and life goes even faster :)
    Hooray for all the wonderful educators out there!

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  27. Isn't it so wonderful to know you have touched lives in such positive ways?

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  28. What a beautiful and affirming note, Linda. I often wonder about people who call teaching a 'thankless job' - when we get treasures such as this every now and again. Wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!