I received this letter from a student today:
With some kids, it's fairly obvious when you're making a difference in their lives. Middle school kids have this habit of brutal honesty with sharing how they feel about you. Even those who aren't vocal about it still tend to broadcast it through body language and eye rolls. This particular girl is shy and has one of the best poker faces I've ever seen, so to say this letter was a surprise is an understatement. Take into consideration that her mom passed away in June from cancer, with many other home issues happening since then, and you can start to understand how badly she really needs a woman in her life to look up to. I had no idea it was me. I'm not sure I deserve this praise yet, but I'll work my tail off this year to try to live up to the standard she's setting for me. That second paragraph really gets me. What did she hear about me that was so wrong? Well, considering I've already taught two of her older siblings, and one of them actively (and vocally) hated me, I'm sure she heard a lot over the years. I'm glad I could change her mind from whatever predispositions she walked into my room with.
Letters from students are seriously one of the things I live for in this job. It happens once in a while, usually from an 8th grade girl. On the worst days, I think stuff like this is what keeps me coming back for more. I save them so I can read them later when I need strength. I need to make sure I communicate clearly back to her how much this means to me.
As if this wasn't awesome enough for one day, I also got word from my principal today that ISU was interested in sending a student teacher to learn with me during the spring semester. This would be my first student teacher; I've had observers and practicum students before, but never a real student teacher. I'm so freaking excited and nervous and honored and a million other feelings I haven't had the time to wrap my head around yet!
Tonight I'm headed down for the ICTE Fall Conference and tomorrow morning is the big presentation with Allison! I am also excited and nervous and have a million other feelings about that. If you've read this blog at all and you'll be at ICTE on Thursday or Friday, please come talk to me. I promise I'll try to put my awkwardness aside and be a real, social human being, and I'd love to meet more teachers from throughout the state.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.