Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dear Teacher,

They usually start arriving just before final grades are due.
"You're my favorite professor, Dr. Caution!"
"I'm going to miss your class."
and unfortunately,
"i seen you yestarday but didnt get a chance to tell you that your the best english teacher ever!"

The notes are sweet, but the timing is suspect, and I am sure there's some ulterior motive there.

Sometimes the students wait long enough, but the content is a little annoying:
"I was in your class last year.  Remember me? I liked you.  Will you write me a recommendation for a scholarship? It's due in 15 minutes."

Sometimes the notes are just pure sweetness:
"I did it!  I got admitted to the nursing program!! Thanks for your encouragement."

Last week I got a different kind of note.  It was from a student who was in my class five YEARS ago.
It was heartfelt and beautiful.   It spoke of her amazing struggle we could not have foreseen and survival we might not have predicted.  She has now graduated, and needs nothing from me.  Her words, though, touched my heart.  She said I made a difference.  She said I had offered her hope that stayed with her all those years.  She said a lot of other things, too, and they are words I will treasure forever - most especially on those days when my boss doesn't know my name or a stubborn student tries to convince me that I chose the wrong career.

So what's this post about?  It's not self-serving.  Really!  But the school year is coming to a fast close and sometimes we parents scramble to find a good year-end gift to show a teacher our appreciation.  If you have truly loved the teacher, write a note.  Better still, have your child write the note.  Trust me, it's more than enough.  Just be sure to send it AFTER grades have been turned in!

Works for me Wednesday


Unknown said...

The rewards of a job well done.

Kelli Nørgaard said...

When I moved to DK I left a lot of "Stuff" behind... however, I did bring one large box filled with that exact kind of things.. all those memories... in fact, I still have one of those kinds of letters that I got when a student graduated whom I had taught my first year of teaching in 1993... And yes it is here with me in Denmark !!
Thank you for sharing this post!

Mrs. Tuna said...

Thanks for following me today :)

I can relate to the student side of things, I've returned to college after a million years away and asked one professor from a large lecture class to write me a letter, but GOOD NEWS! I heard yesterday I won the scholarship.

Mental P Mama said...

Such great advice. Ya dun gud;)

joanne said...

great advice from a great teacher...those things stay with us forever. Thank you Caution for all you do and for taking the job of cherishing our little ones so seriously. You did make the right choice...j

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wonderful advice...and hey, kudos to you for being a wonderful teacher all the time!!!!
YOU do make a difference.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

I seen you there in your look like the goodest english teacher ever!!! :)

I'm glad that your former student reached out to tell you how much you meant to them. I have a few teachers that made such an enormous difference in my life and I wish I could find them to tell them. Teachers are amazing and undervalued and unappreciated.

Can you write me a recommendation? It's due in 5?

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

I Am Woody said...

There was a teacher that really, REALLY made a difference in Vol Fan's life. I have been 'encouraging' him to write her a letter to thank her after all these years. We'll see...

Kristin - The Goat said...

It never occurred to me to give my teachers gifts or write notes. Did people do things like that 30 years ago, or were we just unthoughtful?!!

It's so wonderful that you got that note. I can imagine that you were indeed a wonderful person to have been placed in her life.

imbeingheldhostage said...

awww, that's awesome. If you never do another thing, you should be proud to have made such an impact.

When I first started reading I was thinking about professors that I had written notes to-- totally not expecting anything--and then I realized that I had always sent them AFTER the class was over, so yeah, probably safe to suspect some of those earlier ones.
I LOVED the "seen you yestarday"!