Last year my husband and I moved from Everett, Washington to San Antonio, Texas. It was a big move but one of the most difficult things for me was leaving my school behind. I worked with amazing people. I looped 4th to 5th grade with a group of students that I was incredibly close to. I coached several of my girls in volleyball. I went to dance recitals. I bought more boxes of Girl Scout cookies than I should I have. I loved my students and my parents.
Since my first year of teaching, I have given my students stationary and my address on the last day of school. I encourage them to write to me and I'll write back throughout the summer. Many write or email. I have even gotten some letters from parents. These letters make my day and I always try to write back. Eventually the letters taper off, but a few kids still keep in touch with Christmas cards or emails.
Today, I found this in my mailbox.
This letter comes from a student that I had in 5th grade two years ago. She will be a 7th grader this year. The quote she wrote on the back is my favorite. It is on a banner that I have always had hanging in my classroom. It is the quote I use to sign their yearbooks every year. She remembered. I haven't put that banner up this year because it just seemed to take up too much room. Guess what? It's going up on Monday.
So, I open the letter and she has written to tell me that her Papa died. His funeral is over Labor Day, but she tells me that she is going to make herself feel better by making me a friendship bracelet. I'm so very touched by the letter and by her continuing to include me in her life, for both the happy and the sad moments. And she writes to me from 1,700 miles away. It reminds me that our job as teachers is more than helping them pass a test. This little girl grew leaps and bounds in my room. She trusted me and knew I would help her succeed anyway I could. Relationships are key. They are the most important part of teaching.
Come Monday, my banner is going up and I am going to continue to focus on building relationships with my students. It's a difficult campus to work at with a low socioeconomic demographic, some high impact behaviors, and some
crazy unconventional parents. They need me more then ever at my school. I hope to inspire them as much as this little girl inspired me today!