Monday, May 21, 2007

School is winding down.

So, last year, I had a student I really connected with. I'd heard about his temper issues, and I'd heard about his lack of care for school, and I pushed that back in my mind. He graduated in May and returned as a Freshman in the fall. Well, his temper got the best of him a few times, and so he was asked not to return. At graduation last year and today, I gave my graduates personal letters. I thank them for all that they are and all that they did. I had one mom today come to me with tears in her eyes and tell me how much they both appreciated his letter and how upset she was that I'm staying in 7/8 and can't move up. She said I captured his interest in reading, something no other teacher has done before. She warmed my heart and really made my day.

Just now, I checked my school e-mail. This anger-management kid from last year really and truly reminded me of Blake P., a friend of mine from college who'd better be reading my blog, because I check his every day. Yup. I follow all friends blogs every day. Anyway, he speaks like Blake, like the type of books Blake likes, and has the same demeanor. They even have similar speech patterns. And I had an e-mail waiting for me. I'm changing names to protect the innocent, but this is truly making my job feel worthwhile.

"Dear Mrs. M.,
I hope you don't hold anything against me contacting you because of my reputation at school. If not I look forward to keeping in contact with you. I've heard that the school year is nearly over for you and I hope it has treater you better than it has me. (Not trying to be depressive) I'd like to corespond with you for two reasons; One being that I think you are quite frankly the best teacher I have ever had. I fondly remember the days in your classroom as very happy ones indeed. The second being that I think I've come about to writing my book in a very serious way. You've told me that you really believe in my abilities as a writer. I wish to honor those words by asking a boon that I hope you will look favorably upon. Blunty, will you be my ghost writer? If remeber correctly you finished your courses last year for a literature major. Also I know that you have a great interest in literature as a whole. I hope I can depend on you as a guide in my blundering through the writing process. I know that I'm not on the top of your list of people to talk to and things to do. Knowing this I won't feel put off if you decline. Take as long as you like in responding to this message. I'm in no hurry and the book won't be written in a day. I'm looking forward to your response very much.

W. L.,
still your student at heart"

I cannot describe what this e-mail means to me. Of course, I will clandestinely work with him. He has a gift in writing. That e-mail was written by a 9th grader. I feel with some guidance, he will be something one day.

This was an incredibly rough year for our grade levels of 7 and 8. We had some problems and some difficult kids. The 8th graders are gone now, so we're down to the 7th graders. And when you have a difficult year (ALL of the 7th 8th teachers did...even the calmest, most zen teacher said there were days she wanted to cry...), you start doubting yourself.

Some of the parents who came on the 7/8 trip to Washington were so amazed by us on the trip. One of the most common phrases we heard across the boards was, "I don't know how you all do this all day, every day. You deserve awards..." Our principal, who was on the trip, put it into perspective. He said, "There are jobs, and there are vocations. We don't look at teaching as a job. It's certainly not a way to make money. It's a calling. A vocation. And most people don't realize that. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of yourself to be a teacher."

Just wanted to share this.

We don't get paid a lot in money, but I think this e-mail serves as my Christmas bonus for the next year.


misti said...

That's so inspiring! I know that teacher's like that sort of thing. I remember many teachers that inspired me. Love the new house photos!

Sea said...

That's wonderful, Mae! :)