TWIT: They Write. . .Once in A While!

It's been another difficult week for me.  Too many conflicts and not enough comfort—and that's on me.  I'm a fighter by trade, and am one of those people who never seems completely relaxed unless he's in the middle of a good argument. 

It's exhausting, though.  I gotta give it a rest.  I'm a walking, breathing example of teacher burnout in action. 

That's why this note—which I found in my mailbox on Friday—is making my "eyes wet" right now:

Dear Mr. Ferriter,

You don't know how difficult writing this letter is. 

It means admitting that my middle school career is finally drawing to a close.  Three fleeting years have passed in the blink of an eye, and I'm so thankful that you've been a part of them.  The year that I spent in your class was one of the most exciting of my life.  For the first time, I enjoyed coming to school each day and reveled in the fun of it all.

You taught me to look at the world in a new perspective.  I learned about all of the things that technology can produce.  I mean, who could forget all of that awesome blogging?  But most of all, you are an all around awesome guy.  You are funny, smart, witty, and can make light of almost any situation.  Thank you so much.

Very truly yours,

I hate using phrases like "these kinds of words are a teacher's greatest reward" because too many people use that as an excuse to pay teachers nothing for the work that they do, but I will definitely say that these kinds of words mean the world to me.

For whatever reason, teaching is often a thankless grind.  It's hard, hard work in a profession that is constantly under attack.  We're battered by criticism—and unrealistic expectations—from every corner. 

So when a kid takes the time to say thank you, the world stops for a bit and I remember what it is that I've been fighting for.  Touches the ol' heart, that's for sure. 

This is why I teach.

6 thoughts on “TWIT: They Write. . .Once in A While!

  1. Kevin Jarrett

    As powerful as those words are, particularly the first sentence, I’ve got a hunch he’s not written many (or any) of these kinds of notes before. If true, that, to me, speaks volumes. How many middle school boys take the time to write notes of appreciation LIKE THIS to their teachers? I don’t teach MS so I don’t have direct knowledge so all I have is my hunch: not many.
    What he wrote above, in a few short lines, cannot possibly capture the impact you have had on this child. Though beautifully written, I sense immense power in what wasn’t said. If the letter was that hard for him to write, it’s clear he left a lot out. He couldn’t find the words!
    I’ll close with this thought. While you are seem a little conflicted (!) about moving to administration or leaving the classroom, consider this: where do you want to be, many years from now, when Kyle comes to visit, to catch up, to tell you about himself and his career success (possibly even that he is now a teacher)?
    Would you want to greet him in your office, as Superintendent perhaps, sitting in large, comfortable chairs, or maybe at a conference table, surrounded by the trappings of a lengthy career in education (awards,framed photographs, gifts from students, lots of pilise of paper, a huge desk, etc.) … or:
    As a classroom teacher, as you are now, today, surrounded by the things you love most in life, kids and learning, engaged in incredible projects (“students, PLEASE remember to turn OFF your holographic particle accelerators BEFORE initiating the cold fusion generators, OKAY?”), showing him that you are still doing what you were born to do – teaching a new generation of students to love learning?
    Your call!

  2. Cary

    I teach fifth grade. Tomorrow is our last day. About a week ago I got a note from a boy in my room is probably one of the least “emotional” kids I’ve taught – all boy, very “masculine” if you know what I mean. It was a simple post-it note on my laptop that said, “Mr. Kirby, you rock.” I didn’t know how much that simple phrase could mean until I got it from him.

  3. Gail Ritchie

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Bill. That’s certainly why I teach–because of the myriad opportunities to make a positive difference in children’s lives.

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