The last day of school I asked my students to write about what they will miss most about our class. Here are some of their (edited and spell checked) responses:
Ms. Graham would never be afraid to get upset with us when we were bad. I’m going to miss the times we had and how we were like family.
I’ll miss Ms. Graham the most because she’s special. She teaches well and dresses cute. Most of all though, she can relate to a teenager because she is still young.
I will miss how we laugh a lot. It is funny when you are funny.
I will miss the books.
I will miss Ms. Graham the most because she has helped me in language arts. I will miss her funny times and her bad times.
I will miss The Hunger Games and Ms. Graham because the book was good and she is a great teacher.
I love the reading in this class which was never boring.
We would pick books out that we loved. We always would talk about books and have fun.
Your awesome mismatched outfits that only you could pull off.
I will miss your jokes and stories.
I will miss the great books. All the books Ms. Graham reads are chosen with consideration.
Ms. Graham is going on my “best teacher in this grade” list.
I will miss your craziness.
One thing I will miss is Mrs. Graham’s fashion sense. She dresses nicely. I will also miss all the awkward people in our class. They really make me laugh.
There are a lot of bad things you could say about this generation. And I could paint some really ugly pictures if I told you about some of my students’ home lives. Or their foster parents. Or their lack of food. Or, some days, their bad attitudes and nasty words. Or their current reading levels. Unfortunately, not all of these kids will graduate high school. Some of them will quit school in just a year or two. And that breaks my heart. I had to stop dwelling on that a long time ago or I wouldn’t have made it this far in my teaching career.
But there are things I can dwell on. Things that keep me going: kids who write me heartbreakingly beautiful letters about how much they’ll miss me this summer, conversations I have with my students and the books they’re reading, seeing a child, who has all the odds stacked again him, succeed, watching struggling readers become lifelong readers right before my eyes. Those are the things that keep me in the classroom.
It’s easy, as the year ends, to just be glad it’s over. Another year done. Another 107 students I’m sending to the next grade. I will forget some of their names. I will not remember all the stories. But they will. I will always, for the rest of their lives, be their 7th grade English teacher.
I still remember my teachers from school. I might not remember the things they taught me, but I remember them. I remember their stories, how they made me feel, and things that happened in their classrooms.
And it will be like that for my students.
Because I was their 7th grade teacher.