I think that no matter the school or the students, a teacher's first class will always be special to him or her, and I am no exception. I loved those classes. They challenged me, they taught me, they laughed with me (and at me), and I delighted in them. I still delight in them. Nothing makes my day more than when a former student comes down to my room to say hello or to have a chat. Or when I get a "thinking-of-you" e-mail, out of the blue. I just love my job so much, and it humbles me whenever a thoughtful student takes time out of his or her day to re-connect with me, even if just for a short time.
At the very end of the school day, one of my favorite students came down for a visit. We talked for a while, and even this student, who is normally quite vocal, was at a loss for words. As the final bell dismissed students to go home for the summer, I was handed a note and was instructed not to read it until after its author was far out of my sight. I obliged.
Normally, I wouldn't post something like this, but I'm going to for two reasons:
1. I'm so incredibly proud of this young student, not only for how well she articulated her thoughts, but also for how well she has processed her journey.
2. I know that the tough days I spent with this young student will happen time and time again with other students. I want this sweet letter to be a constant reminder to me of just how worthwhile it is to never, ever, give up on a child.
Over the past three years you have been influential in my life, and for that I want to thank you. You have taught me more in such a short amount of time than others have my whole life. You've taught me that I have a voice and it deserves to be heard, but the only way anyone is going to listen is by controlling myself. You taught me to push myself and to thrive through adversity. You remind me that I've made progress, no matter how bad of a day I'm having.
I want to thank you for going above and beyond what you needed to in order to make your students succeed. When I think of a great teacher, I think of someone who not only sufficiently teaches you what is required, but also how to be a good human being and who teaches you to fight for the things that you love.
Therefore, you are the best teacher I've ever had. When I entered your classroom for he first time, I was only a child, so over the years you have watched me grow literally and metaphorically from a child into an adult, and this change would have never occurred if I hadn't had people like you in my life.
This letter left me speechless and in tears on that day, and will probably leave me speechless and in tears every time I read it. What a blessing it is to be a teacher!