Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Letters we get letters

Today was teacher appreciation day.  The assistant principal asked the students to write letters of appreciation to their (favorite) teacher at lunch.  Some people got many.

I got one.
Someone told me I was their favorite teacher, but forgot to sign his/her name.

We are on the process of pulling together our "dog and pony" show for the school wide review next week. I have been making a big fuss about not getting too excited about it all- but I am somewhat of a hypocrite so my sixth graders have been writing an argumentative essay.  That's the Common Core skill we are supposed to be focusing on.

Yesterday as I tried to get this brilliant piece of historical commentary going, Lawrence insisted on calling my attention.  He needed to tell me he needed a new folder because the old one had an itsy-bitsy tear and also I noted on his vacation project that he hadn't indicated the country in Africa his project was about.  The instruction said- use the map to locate the country.  So he did.  He didn't see why I expected him to color it on the map. The instructions didn't say that.

And I wouldn't call on him.  So he wrote me a letter.  (Correct format, neat handwriting)

Dear Teacherfish,

    I think you were very rude for ignoring me.  I had a valid question and you told me to put my hand down.  Also I did not appreciate that you  didn't want to discuss the grade on my vacation project.Please respond.
                                                                               Sincerely yours,

So I did.  I wrote:

Dear Lawrence,

   I am sorry you think I was rude.  Sometimes teaching is a hard job.  I wanted to get the class settled   and give general directions before I answered individual questions.  I am heartened by your ability to communicate your grievances in writing.  Please accept my apologies. I will come to your table during class for an individual conference.

                                                                         Sincerely yours,

I dropped it on his desk and snuck away.  From afar I watched him nod his head up and down as he read.  He carefully folded the letter and tucked it in his pocket. Later I gave him a new folder and upped his grade a point.

Oh and  I ran into Isiah bounding down the hall.  "How come you didn't write me a letter for teacher appreciation day?" I asked as he flew by.

"Nobody told me to write nothing," he answered. And as he receded down the hall, I heard,
"Anyway you already know you're my favorite teacher!"

PS:  The title Letters We Get Letters, is one of those things that dates me.  Perry Como used to sing it on his television show, when watching the black and white tv together was something families did for entertainment. I think he would read letters people sent him after singing it.  Dates back to the time Teacherfish was a very little guppy.

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