Friday, May 06, 2005

One Bad Idea, One GREAT Idea

Some time this week was the National Day of the Teacher. We don't know much about that here in California because out here in the Golden State, next Wednesday is the coveted Teacher Appreciation Day. What's up with having a different date than the rest of the country? Bad idea.

In preparation for next week, though, I found a couple envelopes in my school mailbox. And then a couple more, and then a couple more. Turns out that one of our English teachers is doing a unit on poetry, and one of the assignments is to write a poem to your favorite teacher. The students add a cover letter explaining why they chose that particular teacher, and then the English teacher sent the letter(s) and poem(s) to us with the following cover sheet:

DAY OF THE TEACHER MAY 11

Congratulations on being selected as a student's favorite teacher. You are a special, hard-working educator who is making a difference.

Sincerely,

(English teacher's name)

You are a ray of sunshine!

What a generous and thoughtful way for one teacher to make other teachers feel good! GREAT IDEA! And based on what the few students wrote to me, it doesn't seem like they they were coerced to write anything in particular, nor did their words seem forced at all. Some cover letters were succinct, others more lengthy. None of the letters or poems seemed generic, and each was geared to something specific that the student appreciated.

As honored as I am to get these, humility dictates that I cannot post my favorite lines or sentences. But I am honored, there's no way around that. These few letters and poems mean more to me than the fantastic spread our PTSA will provide for lunch next Wednesday, and that's saying a lot.

6 comments:

Polski3 said...

Cool. Save those. They can help in rough times.

Darren said...

I'm definitely going to put them in my "rainy day file"--you know, the file you pull out when you wonder why the heck you ever entered education in the first place. It's been a while since I've added to it, and these are certainly worthy.

Anonymous said...

This does sound like a great idea. I like the indisciplinary use of skills; makes the subject matter seem that much more applicable. But not to sound like this is Montessori school or anything, but what about the teachers who didn't get written about? That makes for a rather dreary Teacher Day for them. . .

Darren said...

I was surprised and pleased to get them. I'm not sure anyone cries if they don't get one. And if anyone's self-esteem is based on their popularity with 15-yr-olds, well....

henny said...

What an excellent and meaningful assignment. Poetry, and teaching children in this "me generation" to stop to say thanks....

And congratulations to you for all of the poems you received. You must be a wonderful teacher.

Darren said...

I only received a few. And maybe I entertain more than I teach, although I highly doubt it.

What really struck me is that math teachers don't often get recognition. When you ask for favorite teachers (like in the yearbook) you usually get English teachers, who let the students express themselves in essays; electives teachers, who let the students express themselves in other artistic ways; and athletic team coaches. So the fact that I got any letters at all was both surprising and deeply satisfying.