“Here Mrs. Donnelly,” and theme paper was placed into my hand. All around me were my current students, moving to grab their backpacks during a not-too silent dismissal. This voice was a surprise – a student from last year, now almost at eye-level with me as she has grown taller. She also looked more mature than the current friends under my charge.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“Just something I wrote and want you to have,” and she turned and walked off. I quickly placed the paper in my back pocket and returned my attention to dismissing my students, giving them a high-five goodbye.
Then an hour later as I sat in my car to drive home, I remembered the paper. I pulled it out of my pocket and read this:
Dear Mrs. Donnelly,
Thank you for all that you’ve taught me.
You taught me how to divide and multiply without messing up.
You taught me to push myself and never give up!
You taught me how to read a way to make me soar through the words on the page.
You taught me to be the writer I am today.
When I was in Yellowstone immersed in beauty,
in New Jersey riding a roller coaster,
North Carolina resting at the beach,
I brought my writing mind with me and wrote…
I will never forget what you gave me, Thank you.
I celebrate that I remembered this week why I teach because of this former student’s words to me. #WhyITeach