A Final Letter to My Students

Today is a bittersweet day.  Although I am excited for this new chapter with my children, I am going to miss my students.

 

UGH. I just didn’t think it would be this hard.  The only thing I love more than my students… My family – needs me now.

 

If you know me in real life, you know that every year I tend to do something different in  my classroom.  This year, I began by writing letters to my students on the board.  This morning is my final letter:

 

Dear Students:

The key to your happiness lies within.  Live your lives with honesty, integrity, and kindness.  Take the high road.  Find the things you love and be passionate about them.  Live each day as if it were your last.  Plan for tomorrow, but embrace the side roads your dreams might lead you today.  Dream Big.  Be inspired. Be TOLERANT of others.  Be an inspiration to others.  Remember, you have a responsibility to yourself – to do amazing things. I will miss you… more than you know.

 

Those are the words I want to leave my students with. Here are the other letters I’ve written them this year:

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I usually share… but not these. These are my thoughts – my letters to my students. If you would like to borrow these quotes – please credit this blog

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I wrote this one on the Friday before the 10 year anniversary of 9/11

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And this one on the day we returned to school. 

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Many of my students have jobs.  They work harder than some of the adults I know. Teaching them the value of staying awake in school is difficult.  (Although… I could often relate this year – with the minimal sleep… I think it made these letters mean more.)

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There was some pretty extreme flooding in parts of PA this past fall.  Sometimes we need to remember how lucky we are – even for the small things. 

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Everyone has their own way.  Some choose to ignore that Mondays are hard.  I… obviously – acknowledge it.  And embrace it.  But Mondays are necessary – they NEED Monday school.  **Sigh** Most don’t realize how difficult it will be to achieve their dreams without school.

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Sometime around this point – students began to come in and look for their letter.  It was really cool to watch.

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If you ever wanted to know “when will I ever use this Math?” – come talk to me.  There were a lot of times my students and I talked about standing up for things they needed to know.  They are smart.  Just because they don’t know things now – doesn’t mean they can’t learn things.  I think this is the point where sharing bits of life (even when they show you struggle… like with the math) – can help others to be inspired to do the same.

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I know I wrote this after a seizure.  I ran out of the class in the middle of teaching.  If you’ve never seen someone doing it… it can be traumatizing.  I worry about them.  Because they shouldn’t worry about us.  But you worry about the people you care about.  I care about them and I know they care about me (and Alexander.)  So… use this time to remind them that sometimes you can’t control what happens to you – only how you react.  And we went right back to normal.

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I wrote this after I returned from my BlogHer conference.  They knew I was going to a conference about writing a book and were super excited.  This pretty much summed up how I felt about the weekend.  Chase your dreams while loving your reality.

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I had 3 sophomores tell me they were getting engaged.  **Sigh**  I worry about them.  LOVE is so big for high school students, and yet – most people don’t find their partners until long after.  I wrote this one.  I wanted them to stand strong on their own two feet.  They don’t need a relationship to be important. 

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I usually share… but not these.  These are my thoughts – my letters to my students.  If you would like to borrow these quotes – please credit this blog.

 

 

I can’t believe today is my last day.  And my Last Letter.  For now… Because the truth is… I really do love them.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hilary says:

    Thinking of you!

  2. I could not imagine saying goodbye to my class right now. Your letters are awesome. Thanks for sharing those with us. I wish you the best and love that you are doing what is best for your family. Good luck with it all.

    • Kristen says:

      It is SO weird. I’ve left in the middle of the year before – to have a baby… but this time was just different. Because the only way this “works” is if I pretend it is forever. That way I won’t be tempted to overspend – and live outside our comfort zone. So – even though it probably isn’t forever, I’m going to pretend it is. And pretending made it harder than ever.

  3. Arnebya says:

    These letters are absolutely wonderful. Your love for the students and determination in teaching are apparent. I also love that you wrote the letters to begin with. I know that it makes my girls’ day when they have an unexpected note from me in their lunch.

    • Kristen says:

      Thanks. I’ve gotten so many compliments from students and even other teachers who loved reading them this year. It was really fun to do it.

  4. Joanna says:

    You are an amazing teacher. Whether you return to teaching or this is it, you will continue to teach just by living the life that you do. You will teach three wonderful “students” who will brighten the world in countless ways. Love you!

  5. Maureen says:

    I just wanted to let you know that your family are with you and everything will work out with you. I know it is hard to say bye. But look ahead you might see some of those kids sometime
    love ya
    Molly

  6. I love the idea of writing letters to your students. I’m also a teacher and it sounds to me that my students are the middle school version of yours. I try to talk to them a lot about why middle school and what they do now will matter later down the road.
    Good luck with this new chapter!

    • Kristen says:

      Thanks! You should totally steal it – if you want. I’m big on sharing! It is funny… I should watermark the pictures of my kids – but haven’t yet. But these – private (well, now public) letters of love to my students… I couldn’t bear to have someone just “take” without asking first. Weird, huh?

  7. Heather says:

    I love these letters! I’m sure you are a great teacher, and you’re an amazing mom. I hope the transition to having you at home is going well.

  8. Shay says:

    These posts and letters are incredible! I teach the advanced groups in elementary school and I think some of my kids would really REALLY respond to this! Did you write them everyday? What a great idea- I think I might have to try it out. Great blog for sure :)

    • Kristen says:

      Totally “steal” the letters. I didn’t write one every day – but at least 3 times a week for the most part. I was afraid I would run out of ideas if I did one every day. And often… it was based on what happened lately. (Sort of like a mini-blog)… but use the idea! I think your kids would love it.

  9. mansi says:

    wow! what an innovative way to connect to students…i absolutely loved your idea…thumbs up!!

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