In my almost 20 years of teaching, I’ve received a wide array of end-of-the-year gifts. These have ranged from gift cards to homemade cards, tote bags to wine bags. Last week I received a gift that brought me to tears. A gift that I shall treasure forever, because it means more to me than all the bottles of wine and Red Sox tickets in the world. It’s a little journal with the title “Why You’re The Best Teacher Ever,” and it was given to me by a very special student.
When I first unwrapped it, I thought it would be filled with pre-printed pages of standard, run-of-the-mill compliments, but not this journal. On each page there are prompts with spaces to fill in and personalize the comments. There are 50 pages to fill, so this was no small undertaking for my new writer, even though he was coached by either his mother or father.
This made me happy — “My favorite thing about you is when you laugh.”
The second page intrigued me — “you are the best at writing.” You see the gift giver is a 6-year old boy who moved to the US from Germany just two weeks before school started last fall. He knew very little English. School was hard work for him — I mean really hard. His least favorite part of school was writing. He made this very clear, in a light-hearted way. So clear that I was able to playfully tease him this spring that his most favorite part of the day was coming up — Writer’s Workshop! This always made him laugh and he’d make a funny face at me. So I was surprised to uncover these four pages:
“You give the best lessons on Writer’s Workshop.”
“You’re so patient when I learn to read and write.”
“The way you explained writing was just the best.”
“The best thing I learned from you is writing.”
These left me speechless, excited, proud, motivated to be an even better teacher of writing.
And then there was this page.
Many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life each Tuesday. Won’t you join us?