Highlights from the letters my 8th graders gave me...
“You were like a mom to me. If I have no one, I know I have you.”
“Three pages and 80 lines won’t explain to you how much you mean to me, but you know.”
“I look forward to coming to your class and learning. You have inspired me to improve my grades. And when I say have a good day when I leave your class it’s because you deserve it. I just want you to know that all of the students love you and you are one of the best things to happen to _____ Middle School in a long time.”
“I know one day you will be a great mom.”
“You have become my favorite teacher and let’s be honest, we didn’t see that coming.” -from the girl who once told me she wished there were two reading teachers so she didn’t have to have me.
I knew I had an offer at 11:30 this morning.
However, I did not accept it until 30 minutes ago. The minute I read that email I shrieked, did a dance, and called my mom crying.
Then the panic set in. Am I ready for this? Can I actually do this?
I immediately emailed the chair of my department. Dr. Wilson started her career teaching at a middle school in East Harlem, and I knew she’d be honest with me. She called me during my prep at the enrichment program.
After congratulating me, the first thing she said is:
This will be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. It will be the hardest year of your life.
I knew that, but I needed someone else to say it. The South Bronx is the poorest region in the U.S. I may think I’ve seen struggle, but I haven’t seen anything yet.
It will take a different kind of teaching, and a different kind of commitment for me to make this work.
She also said that if anyone can do this, I can.
I’m going to hang onto that, but I have a lot of work to do. My summer reading list has grown exponentially. Dr. Wilson just emailed a list of over thirty “essential” titles. I love her definition of essential.