Yesterday I received a note in snail mail from a former student who graduated this year. Here is what it said, typed as closely as possible to the original:
Thank you Mrs. Ayres,
you tought me alot you always were there for me to help me through the ruff times. you Believed in me when no one els Did. Thank you so much for Being my teacher. I will Always think of you. You have A place in my hart.
PS. The pink was cool i guess! LOL I have Bigger challenges now. I have to move to Indy for collage. Start A new life in to weeks. I have mad Big plans for my life. Relley Thanks so much for every thing you have Done for me
My first thought, as I blinked back tears: Now this is why I teach and man, do I ever miss the daily grind of the classroom. I’m relieved he made it, despite the uphill battle this kid had to fight.
My second thought: Maybe I should have taught him a bit more in the GUMS department.
Then I thought more deeply. He filled the note card. Seriously, he filled it. His writing was packed with meaning and he clearly conveyed his thinking. When he entered my classroom, he wouldn’t write three consecutive words. Not only that, but the power of writing was as foreign to him as China.
As I sit here looking at his senior picture which he included in the letter, I think he is a success story. Five years ago, he wouldn’t have considered putting pen to paper to convey his thoughts. So what that his capitalization is mixed-up; that his lack of punctuation caused me to reread; and that is spelling is a bit disappointing.
He wrote me, a teacher five years in his past, a letter of thanks. I’ll take it. And I’ll remember the big picture from now on. It’s not about GUMS — it’s about meaning and love and caring.