When it comes to teaching, there are many hard things. One of the hardest for me is letting go at the end of the year. The more I know to give my heart and soul each year, the harder it is to let them go.
They are my kids, right? I had them for nine months, and no one can possibly know them, teach them, or love them the way I did.
It’s a truth that feels as solid as rock… that is until I meet the others who continue the work.
Last week, I met a teacher at an out of town workshop I attended.
She sat across from me and we began some small talk. I discovered she worked at the school where my students moved on to 5th and 6th grade. As we chatted, she began sharing names of students, trying to find one we had in common.
After a few unfamiliar names, she paused for a moment and tried one more. “Was X… your student?” she offered. The name caught my attention immediately. “Yes,” I whispered, nodding quietly while falling back into memories of the student, his struggles, and my hopes for him.
Writing for him was hard. I remember.
For a quiet moment, we reflected. We had something special in common. This kid was special, and we connected knowing this simple truth.
She smiled, and then quickly reached down into her wallet and carefully pulled out a red heart-shaped note. I knew what it was before she handed it to me. I often carry similar treasures in my own bag. It was a note from a student to his teacher.
In that precious note, he shared details of her impact on his learning and thanked her for teaching him.
After reading the note, I pressed it over my heart and thanked her for sharing it with me. We both knew how special it was.
It warmed my heart to know this tiny paper filled much more than her teacher wallet. He left my classroom with a love for writing. She made that clear to me. And knowing she could see through his struggle to see something beautiful in him, brought comfort.
I am not the only one in this hard work. It’s good to be reminded. There are others who do the work, and many others who love them, too.