The thank you letters I received as a class teacher and the little notes from the children and their parents, remain some of my most treasured possessions. As a teacher there are many days when you feel frustrated or disheartened, like you are never quite going to achieve what you set out to do! I am a sentimental person and tend to keep most of the little pieces of paper and thank you’s the children in my class have given me over the years. This thank you poster was drawn for me by two girls in a Grade 4 class at Pinelands Primary which I spent one month at, doing Teaching Practice in 1997. I was encouraged to frame it, and it remains a very special part of my life. It helped me and continues to remind me how little time one needs to really make an impact on a child’s life and their education.
Keep these notes, with the technology available now it would make sense to photograph them and store them electronically, I have stored mine in scrap books , boxes and have framed some. One of my favourite notes of all time has provided me with such inspiration and became a sort of mantra for me. The thank you notes and little letters allow you to see yourself and your teaching reflected through someone else’s eyes. Usually someone who you have impacted in an immensely positive way. Usually a young soul or their very grateful family members!
When I was leaving John Hope Elementary, an inner-city school that was part of the Atlanta Public Schools system in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2002, a student in my class gave me a thank you note and it had a tremendous impact on how I viewed my teaching, it provided me with such inspiration and become the standard I set for myself when teaching and interacting with the children I work with daily, am I always setting love and joy free?
Isn’t it the most awesome thought that as teachers we can “Set the Joy and Love Free”, sometimes you don’t have to set it free, it’s free already, but when it’s locked up behind disappointment, in a complex classroom, behind learning difficulties, exclusion or the sadness and grief that finds it’s way into our pupils lives then we really need to find a way to set the Joy and Love free!!!!!
Teaching should be joyful, working with children should be joyful…when it is not, think about who is locking it out and why, what is the key to unleashing the tremendous joy that should be found when creativity, critical thinking,teaching and learning are taking place.
What has been your most prized letter, note etc. What lesson did you learn and how did you change your life and teaching after receiving it? Write a letter or a little note to a teacher that needs encouragement today, it could be your child’s teacher,a friend who teaches, or someone who changed your life yesterday or many years ago. Set love and joy free …today!