Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Letter to My Students

To the Students I Taught During My 20th Year of Teaching,

I only find it fitting that right now as you write letters to me, I am writing a letter to all of you. But that's what we do. You write. I write. We have been doing this all year long. The only difference is you just learned about this writing assignment today, and I have been thinking about what I want to say to you for many weeks now, and as I type, I am still not sure how to put everything that is going through my mind into words.

You fall into a special category. One that only two classes have so far in 20 years. You are a group of students that I am not ready to send on. There is something about you as a class. A connection. One that is special and rare. I knew it from the first day you walked into the classroom. I can't explain it but have been trying to figure it out for many months now. Maybe it was the way I created community, giving you choice each week as to where you sat and encouragement in your choice to sit next to those you didn't know. Or maybe it was the Monday morning talk time the first half of the school year where you talked to your neighbor for a few minutes, asking questions, getting to know them, so you realized that you were more alike than different. It could possibly have been Tell the Teacher. Our weekly ritual that allowed me to get a sneak peek into your daily life. Whatever it was, know that you will always hold a special place in my heart.

As I look out at each of you writing, I can't help feel that the end of this school year is bittersweet. It's a milestone year for me. I will always remember you as my 20th class. I think of the growth you have made this year and swell with pride. You made 193% growth in reading and 208% growth in language usage. Who does that!

You do.


Because you trusted me.

My sayings and beliefs became our sayings and beliefs: Always give 150%. And, I don't care of the score but the effort that is put in.

It was November when I had you where I wanted you. You matured and started to really listen. And because of that, you soared.

My absolute favorite time with you was Sacred Writing Time. I am not sure if you ever realized what this time did to you as a writer. You trusted the process.  You went from reluctant writers whose hands hurt to ones that asked for more time to write. You went from asking me a million questions before we wrote to asking none. You fully understood when I said, "I will not write in your writer's notebooks." It was a safe place for you to experiment and a place that you found your voice. You went from students who were afraid to share with one another to ones that couldn't wait to.

Although I am not ready to let you go, you are ready to leave. You are responsible, capable, and a wealth of knowledge. You know how to listen well, ask questions. and write with passion and voice. I can't wait to watch you grow as students, writers, and adults.

It has been an honor to teach you.

I will forever miss you.

Your 5th grade teacher, 

Mrs. Waugh