Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Thank You Letter to My Students - Past, Present, and Future

“Each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories,
but the stories are all one.”
 Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

As I grow older (or should I say, grow more seasoned), I become more fascinated with the impact we have on one another and the stories that each of us write. More importantly, I reflect on the relationships that I have been lucky enough to have- some of the most important ones being those of the students that I have taught and learned with.

A Thank You Letter to My Students - Past, Present, and Future:

Dear Past, Present, and Future Students,

Thank you.

To all of the students I have had the pleasure of teaching I want you to know how grateful and appreciative I am of you. When you left my room at the end of sixth grade, some of you walked away and didn’t look back, others struggled with walking out of my classroom, and many of you I still see daily – thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. It is amazing to think that over my 16 year career in education I have had the opportunity to work with, learn from, laugh with, cry with, and watch you all grow-up.  

I remember listening to your stories and offering advice, but most of the time just listening. I recall the stories about your families, your dreams, your fears, and your goals. I can still picture many of you sitting in my class with eyes full of excitement, anticipation, and genuine joy – waiting to learn and wondering what I would do next in class. I remember attending dances, sporting events, plays, graduations, and even family events.

It’s hard to believe that I have met so many amazing people who I continue to be inspired by. I have watched many of you go on to achieve your dreams and combat your struggles and persevere to overcome them.  There have been moments where I have shed tears over the loss of some of you and my heart sinks even now thinking of you. Many of you have made me look at the world in a different way and have helped me get through my own struggles. Without every single one of you, I would not be the teacher or person I am today.

To all the students of the past, thank you, and remember, once a student in my classroom, always a student of mine.

To my current students I thank you for your continued enthusiasm, passion, and willingness to try new things each day in my classroom. Your genuine love of learning keeps me motivated and inspired to be the best teacher and person I can be. Despite the somewhat turbulent times in education, it is you that I am here for. When I walk into my room and see sixty sets of eyes on me, I know that I can make a difference each day and can inspire you to be something special. You are the reason I continue to learn and grow each day and reflect on what I can do better tomorrow. Like I said from day one, this year will be something special – you only get to do sixth grade once, so let’s make it memorable.

To my current students, thank you, and remember we have lots more moments to make this year.

To the students I have yet to know. Each day I think about what it will be like to teach future generations. How will I be able to meet the needs of so many diverse learners? Will I know the current technology and cool “stuff” when you’re in my classroom? How will I continue to keep my class exciting and fresh and be the best teacher I can be? Will you laugh at my jokes and want to hear my stories? Will I motivate and inspire you to be the best person and student you can be?

I look forward to these challenges as your teacher. I know it won’t be easy and there will be days I question if I am being effective or making a difference. I know you will challenge me every day with your words, thoughts, and actions. As long as you keep challenging me, I will keep challenging you.

To my future students, thank you for making me want to be the best I can be and for making me continue to learn daily. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories.


Mr. Storm – a sixth grade teacher of amazing young people. (currently teaching 7th grade amazing young people)


Unknown said...

What an inspiring letter! I think too many times we assume our students will know they made an impact on us and leave these things unsaid. Thank you for saying them. Shows your heart and will deeply move your students.

Sylvia Guinan said...

The world would be a much better place if more of us could/would share our thoughts and feelings like you do Sean - and each teacher like you makes such a big difference - as you say - we all affect each other:))

The Eudgoal movement is helping us all to be more and expressive and personal, I think - thanks to Shelly!!

Unknown said...

That is truly sweet Mr. Storm. As one of your past students, I do miss your class and the exciting things we did. I still remember going fishing in the pond behind the school. Though I am a Sophomore in High School now, I still consider you one of my teachers (And a favorite one at that). I hope to catch up with you in person some day.