On the eve of what very well might be our last day of school together, I found it necessary to write personalized cards to each and every one of my students. I also wrote them a letter. I cried in front of them today (which caused a handful of them to become teary as well) and I’m probably going to cry again tomorrow. What can I say? I’ve always been a crier.
Dear Div. 19,
WOW – what a year we’ve had together! When I came into this class in mid-October I very quickly realized that I had my work cut out for me. By the end of October my only goal for our class was to become a functioning community of young adults by the end of our time together. You won’t believe how many tears I cried for you in those early days (okay, fine, you probably do believe it!) This year we have come so far and I am so proud of you. You all have grown up so much this year, literally and figuratively. Not only are nearly all of you taller than me now, but many of you are wiser than me, too. Did you know that this year you’ve actually all become MY teacher? Would you like to know what you’ve all taught me this year? Yes? Good, because I’m going to tell you anyhow.
At the start of this year I had only one year of teaching under my belt. I didn’t know how to do teacher things like take kids on field trips, or professionally participate in IEP meetings. I had never done those things before I met you. But those things are practical skills any teacher can learn from any student and you people aren’t just “any” group of students…you’re MY students. This year you all managed to find a place in my heart. You all just dug your way into my heart, put down your lawn chairs, took a seat and refused to leave. You stubborn students. Do you remember when I told you I wouldn’t leave you this year? That I wouldn’t let you get through this year alone, but that we had to work as a team and achieve greatness together? I meant that and you eventually started to believe that, which is when you started to teach me.
This year you taught me to never, ever give up. You taught me that teaching science is really hard, especially when trying to differentiate lessons for each and every student. You taught me more about the importance of connection – that saying “hi” to people every morning is extremely important. You taught me how to let go of perfection. Did you know that I am a perfectionist? I have struggled with this for years and years, but you all managed to crack me this year and you allowed me to let go of expectation and just go with the flow. Please know that nobody has ever been able to teach me that in my 27 years of life! You are brilliant masters! This year you taught me patience – goodness, did you EVER teach me patience. This year you taught me about sorrow, heartbreak and sadness like no other person/people have before. Conversely, you also taught me about unbridled joy and happiness and how to celebrate those things properly. You taught me about being a teenager in today’s world and all the stresses and excitement that comes along with that experience. You let me into your lives through stories about sports, movies, school work, friends, family and a million other “real life” things and I am so grateful for those shared stories. This year you gave me confidence, Div 19. You made me believe in myself as a teacher more than I ever have before. This year you allowed me to spread my wings and grow as a person tremendously. Div 19, you’re all going to be forever in my heart, going down in history as my first ever real class. It has been my honour and ultimate pleasure to be your teacher this year. Thank you, so much, for our time together. I wish you all the best, hope you have a great summer and achieve big goals and dreams in high school! I’ll miss you all more than you know.
Now it’s time to bring on the impromptu end of year celebrations! Cheers to my grade 8s, who literally changed my life this year.