Then there are those awesome times when a student gives you an honest, handwritten, heartfelt note of appreciation that just makes you realize that you are having an impact, that they do see that you love them, that they appreciate everything you do.
Those pieces of paper mean so much to me! They keep me going through stressful times and remind me why I do what I do.
In the past month, I have received two notes that are currently pinned to my bulletin board so I can look at them always. One is from a student I had 5 years ago, and the other is from a student I taught last year.
This student just graduated high school. With a high GPA. He is going to a major university to play football. (Don't worry, I reminded him to keep those grades up too!)
I was invited to his graduation party, and gave him a check. That was not a generous amount, no matter how kindly he described it. It was an honor to even be remembered, let alone to receive a card that I will forever keep as a reminder. That even so many years later (I taught him when he was in 7th grade) he appreciated what I taught him. And he saw that I cared. Priceless.
This student is an absolute amazing girl. You know that student that you think to yourself, "If I have a child, I want them to be just like her!" That's her. It was so much fun having her in class, knowing I could trust her to run errands, and debating on whether they cast the right Peeta. (She says yes, I say no. I don't think we will ever agree on this issue!) In short, she's pretty awesome!
Getting this note from her on the last day of school as great. I had to keep myself from crying when I read it. Luckily, we go to the same church, so I will get to keep seeing her as she grows. And maybe one day, I'll convince her that they should have cast another guy as Peeta!
Students always give me drawings. And I love those! They decorate my bulletin boards and walls at school. But getting notes like these make me smile every time I look at them and remember the amazing students (all of them!) that I have taught over the years. The hundreds of students who I hope know how much I have faith in them, love them, and hope they have amazing lives filled with happiness and success.
Notes like these make it fun to keep planning during the summer. To try to make sure that my future students realize that I care about them and want them to succeed.
Do you have a special place that you keep those notes and drawings?