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Dear Mrs. AuburnChick’s Future Students

Last week, I gave my students several different writing assignments as bellwork.

One of the assignments was to write letters of advice to my future students.

I told the students that they couldn’t turn their letters into gripe sessions and that they had to be gentle because I would be reading them, and I didn’t want them to hurt my feelings.

Later that day, I read each letter and learned a lot about how students perceive me.

More than one student commented on how sensitive I am.  The letter below (click on all letters to view larger images of them) says that, “…her heart is very delicate.”

Many students noted that I am very strict.  The following student encouraged others to hang in there…that I get better at the end of the year…

The next letter was written by a young lady who despised the dress code.  I had to send her to ISS quite a few times to change.

The next student made me chuckle when he described how boring three days of ISS could be…so don’t go to class late!!!  I love how he also explains that I don’t give half credit for “half work.”

Quite a few students mentioned how sassy I could be when wearing my heels.

The next student gave book suggestions after explaining that students would love my book collection.  He read three of Allison van Diepen’s books (the ones recommended in the letter).  He also mentioned the heels.  When I read the letter, I remembered the day he saw me before school started, took one look at my shoes, and said, “Uh oh…you’ve got your heels on today.”  He then warned other students in the class, so they came in prepared!

The young lady who wrote the letter below is also the gal who penned the sweet email I shared on Friday.  Notice how she calls teaching my “calling.”  She also warns students not to put their heads on their desks.  It is my philosophy that students will go to sleep if they get too comfortable…

Ok…so my anal craziness for all things being organized came out in the following letter.  I never realized how often I must have asked students to put books away properly…alphabetically by last name.  I needed to be able to locate certain books when students asked for them!  I also chuckled when she tells students not to make any annoying sounds.

According to the next letter, I am “high strong,” sensitive, and will drive students crazy.  I’ll also make students read…a lot.  heehee

Another pet peeve of mine was when students weren’t looking up at the board when I was giving instructions. I mean…heck…after spending hours creating those Smartboard files, I wanted students to take advantage of the visual aspect of the lesson.  Just kidding.  It was more about having them give me their undivided attention while I was providing instruction.

The next student quickly learned that I could see everything going on in my room.  Oh yeah…I also didn’t like phones to be out.  It’s not that they never used them…just when instruction allowed for it!

I just love, love, love the next letter.  This young lady and I went a few rounds.  I called her father one day, and he filled me in on some of the details of her life.  My entire approach toward her changed, I pulled her outside of my classroom to apologize, and we proceeded through the rest of the year with a renewed understanding of each other…hence the words at the end of her letter…

The final letter I’m sharing with you sums up quite a few things.  She expressed what many others did…be prepared to work and plan on reading a lot.

These letters were reminders to me of just how observant students are.  They pick up on everything…mood, facial expressions (mine sometimes came across as mean), work ethic, and idiosyncrasies.

Children are sponges.  They are influenced by everything and everyone around them.

When you spend as much time with students as I do (ninety minutes a day for 180 days), these observations can become the foundations for habits in their own lives.

I plan on giving these letters to my new batch of students to read the first few days of school.  It will be interesting to read their letters next June.  I wonder what, if anything, will change.

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One Response

  1. The 5th graders at my mountain school did the same thing. 1 of the teachers brought them to lunch 1 day…we got a kick out of listening to them!

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