The Jens

The Jens
jen b & Jen P

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My letter to seniors on Monday

Other educators have responded far more eloquently to the shootings at Sandy Hook, but here's what I gave to each student after they finished writing their final essay for me this semester:

Dear Seniors,

Though the greeting is impersonal, please be assured the sentiments today are not.

Last Friday, as I was getting ready to leave work, I checked the traffic and saw that there had been an accident on 280, just north of Farm Hill and occurring just after we let out for class. I worried that some of you might be involved and hoped it was nothing serious. As I got in my car a bit later, I heard that it was a fatal accident -- my heart sank, and I anxiously scanned news stations to find out more. I tried to remember which students lived where, who might be driving home that way, and prayed fervently that it was none of you. My heart was already heavy from the horrible news of the school shooting in Connecticut and the drive home was long and somber. Though I feel so sorry for the family and friends of those who were killed in the accident, it was with some relief that I recognized none of the names on the evening news that night.

The news of the school shooting in Newtown has continued to weigh heavily on my heart and mind. How can something that terrible happen? How can we explain the unexplainable? I had to stop reading the news and listening to reports and instead, I let my thoughts focus on each one of you. As we finish a book where individuality was non-existent and conformity the norm, I appreciate each of you for what you add to my life. Some of you tell me about good books I should read, some share jokes or funny stories, some add insightful comments to our class discussions while others make those comments in the office, some just give a warm smile in class. You add laughter and joy to our class every day. Many times you also add thoughtful remarks, sometimes even on the topic we’re discussing! J

Seriously, though, as we step away from school for a bit and enjoy the holiday season, take the time to appreciate your family and friends, and know that I appreciate you, too. You may think it’s corny, but you matter to me, more than you’ll ever realize.

Read a good book or two and share it with me when we get back – and have a happy, safe, and fun break! Read! Experience something wonderful! Share your specialness with those around you! Bring joy to others!

But most of all, come back ready to make our last semester together amazing. Congratulations to our early grads and happy holidays to all--

Several students responded via email, a couple left notes on my desk this morning, and a handful talked to me at various points in the day -- all said thank you and that it was nice to know that someone noticed them, cared about them. But all of the kids who responded are kids who interact with me outside of class -- it's the ones who try to fade into the background that I worry about. I hope they read my note and realize that try as they may to fly under my radar, I do notice them, they do matter to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment