Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Emails

One of the best parts of summer vacation is that I often receive very touching, reflective emails from students. It seems that as soon as a week or two goes by after school gets out, they start to go through withdrawals as they realize just how valuable I am in their lives. Since school is no longer in session, I have the luxury of reading these emails in the privacy of my own home, where I do not actually have to see these tiny human faces for another two months. I can read their words, remember them fondly, and then turn back to Netflix to see who killed Laura Palmer.

Email #1
I hope you're having a great summer so far!
I just wanted to thank you again for being the most amazing teacher I've ever had. I've had so many great teachers in the past but you helped me through so much more than just ELA. I will definitely visit you at least 3 times a week next year!
I am being very mature and making sure to make smart decisions. I still plan to go to university of Oregon the first year I get out of high school so I can become a SPED teacher. Then I would like to move back to Maine so I can apply to work at Marshwood.

Email #2
Hi. Thank you for being the teacher that understood everything that happened to anyone and you always knew how to react to them. I'm going to miss having a teacher like you next year! I hope that your advisory and classes are amazing, hopefully you won't have any kids who get sick often so they get you sick too!
I am so happy I had you as my ELA teacher you make learning ELA a lot easier because first I didn't like writing and then when we wrote the essays I started liking to write more and more. Now when I'm bored I either read a book or I write about something.
Thank you for inspiring me to do my best no matter where I go, to always be strong, and always be willing to change. I will remember the life lessons for a very long time.
Thank you for being the funny, amazing, caring, smart, great teacher you have been.
Hope your summer is great!

These students mention that I've taught them more than just language arts, and they couldn't be more right. Throughout the year, I have taught them and their classmates several life lessons.

Here's a bit of a recap of these wonderful and life-altering lessons:

1. Always wear deodorant. If you want to have friends and have people to sit with at lunch, you must wear deodorant every day. If you don't know what this is, it's time to have a talk with your parents.

2. Brush your teeth twice a day. Nobody wants to talk with you if you smell.

3. No dating until you're 18 years old. This is one of my most important rules. The main reason why people date is to see what type of person they are compatible with so they know to marry the right person. If you're not thinking about marriage at the age of 11, then there's really no reason to date. Also, if you start dating people in 6th grade, you will literally run out of people to date by the time you're in high school. Everyone will be asking people to prom, and you'll be like, "I have no one left!" At that rate, you will end up living in your parents' basement, with a gut, playing video games alone.

4. No caffeine or energy drinks. Wake yourself up naturally using lemon water or doing some backbends. You're too young to have an addiction to coffee anyway. Give it 10 years.

5. I'm not your mom. We had to learn this rule the hard way. "Do you have a pencil I can borrow?" "Are there any more tissues?" "I don't know where I put my paper." "I need a fork." The answer to all of these issues is that--thank god--I am not a parent. If I were somehow a parent and hadn't thrown my kid into a trashcan, then yes, I'm sure I would drive them right over to Staples for some new school supplies. I would care about them having the right utensils to eat their food, and I'm sure every little issue in their life would just consume me. But... as I've trained my students to say on command, "You're not our mom."

6. It's okay to change. You can change. Other people can change. Your friends will change and if they change in a good way, more power to them. If they change in a bad way, then you have a decision to make. Those who end up stuck in a rut, depressed and hopeless at age 30, are the ones who are afraid to take a risk, be challenged, or make any sort of move at all. Change your life if it's not working for you. Live in a way that makes you happy, even if it means your definition of this life alters each year. This rule is a real gem. You're welcome.

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