An Open Letter to My Students

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Dear students,

Often times I think that if I could really tell you how I feel, you'd like me a lot more. Or at least understand my motivations. But I can't because one, it'd be weird, and two, I think you're too young to understand.

This morning during his homily, Father asked (rhetorically) if any of the students prayed for their teachers. Then he asked how many teachers pray for their students. Even though we could presume he also meant that one rhetorically, all the teachers raised our hands. And it's true, we pray for you guys all the time. Several times a day.

This evening, I stayed late to finish grades for the quarter that ended today. It's been a rather defeating week for a lot of reasons, and I really didn't feel like staying at work late. But I had a lot to do, and it was important that I do it. As I was looking over this quarter's grades, I found out that one of you has passed my class for maybe only the second time in the seven quarters we've spent together. But you didn't just pass. You got a B. On your own.

And it. is. AMAZING.

I emailed the principal right away because someone else I had to know this good news that I knew. You don't know that you getting this grade has basically made my life worth living.

To you, it might be silly. But to me, you GOT a B. Holy crap.

Students, what you really don't know is how very much I love you.

I love you when you're turning your work in. I love you when you forget your work. I love you when you you tell me how much you love the novel we're reading and also when you forget your pencil and your book. I love you when you're behaving and also when I have to put you on the clipboard for being disruptive.

But mostly I love you when you tell me things.

My favorite thing to hear you say is, "Miss Lafferre, listen to this ..."

When you come in -- anytime you come in -- with something to tell me, I'm overjoyed to hear you. And the thing is, some of you come in A LOT. In fact, I'm not even sure who is letting you leave their class so many times without putting you on the clipboard. But, really, I don't care.

I love when you tell me what the two of you did at your sleepover this weekend, and I love it when you tell me about that weird fact you read on the Internet. I love when you come back from lunch with tales of your shenanigans (which is every day), and I love when you bring your food sculpture gifts to me.

In fact, as I told one of you the other day, I'm still waiting for you to go to lunch, eat your lunch, and come back from lunch without getting into some sort of escapade.

I love when you trip over the trash can.  I love when you tell me you got sneezed on in class by that other kid. I love when you try to scare me by creeping in between classes, and I love it when you want me to help you pull pranks.

Because I love you.

And I wish you knew how much.

I wish you knew that I live and die by what is going on with you.

By the funny things you say.

By the fact that you show up day after day.

I wish you knew how very much I missed you this summer and how I hardly laughed all summer because you weren't there to do silly things.

I wish you knew how much my heart hurts when I think about having to say goodbye to some of you when you graduate this year. How I am already wondering how in the world I'm going to be able to go to homeroom next August and not see you there for the FIRST TIME EVER.

I wish you knew that I worry about you all the time and hope I'm giving you all the things you need. And that I go to bed every night wishing I'd done better.

Because, honestly, it's really not that important to me that you can explain the differences between subject and object pronouns.

I care more that you feel like you spent a couple of years in a classroom with someone who listened to you and cared about you.

But mostly I worry that you don't know how much I love you. And how grateful I am for you. And how blessed I am to be your teacher.

Because, to you, this is part of your life. But, to me, you are my whole life.

I love you so much, and I'm always here for you.


Miss L.

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