As the reality of leaving MPS continues to sink in, I’m feeling many different emotions. Much of this is mourning for the classroom, colleagues, and students I’ll leave behind. It’s a time of transition, and a difficult one at that. But despite the looming emptiness of those feelings, I can’t help but feel simply grateful for this past year. I have a stack of letters that I’ve saved from students over the course of the year, and all I have to do is read through them to put a smile on my face. Here are some of the things they’ve written:

“I just wanted to thank you for teaching my last year of English. I couldn’t have picked a better teacher.”

“I enjoy going to your class every day. Your class is the one I look forward to. I have so much fun!”

“I appreciate Ms. H, just because she’s awesome in her ways.”

“You are an amazing teacher and mentor. Thank you for having the patience to put up with the Class of 2010!”

“You are pretty much the reason that I am going to college. You helped me so much, even when no one else had time.

“Thank you so much for giving me someone to talk to when I needed it. You were the only one I actually opened up to. I had a good time in your class.”

“I think you are one of the coolest people I have ever met and you are one of my favorite teachers at this school. I felt extra special when you pushed me towards going to college… I guess what I’m really trying to say is that you inspired me.”

“You made English, the one class I always hated, fun for the first time. I looked forward to coming, and actually did read the books.”

“You always told me I was an amazing thinker and writer. Thank you for that. I promise, I will keep writing.”

“I love you, Ms. H and I’ll miss you! You rock!”

They may be written on folded looseleaf, sometimes with an occasional spelling error, but these letters are worth their weight in one hundred dollar bills. So often, it’s not that easy to tell if you’re making a difference as a teacher, if anyone is paying attention, if your students are reacting to what you do. But in the end, they usually make themselves known. I thank each one for their letters–they will mean a lot to me long after their authors have forgotten that they were written. 🙂