Lat Friday, the day of the awful shootings in Connecticut something quite magical was happening in my classroom. As teachers, this is one of the biggest oxymorons we face; the world may be tragic but inside our walls we have children jumping up and down out of joy. My students did not know what was going on somewhere else in a school similar to ours, all they knew was that Joel Stave, a quarterback for the Badgers was coming to visit them.
Remember that kid and his big dream? Well, because of you he received letters from 3 football players all urging him to continue to push himself and the ultimate prize; the visit. To see his face light up when he got to play football with Joel actually brought tears to my eyes.
As teachers we do everything we can to support our students, to help them believe in themselves, and to push them further, but this one? This one I could not have pulled off if it wasn’t for other teachers that care as much as I do, three of them being Nete Schmidt, John Sterner, and Jason Bretzmann. I promise to pay it forward.
Friday evening I wrote this letter to Joel to make sure he knew what a difference he made:
I cannot quite find the words to describe how much your visit meant to my class on Friday. This will be the moment they remember about 5th grade. All weekend I have received emails from parents thanking me and telling me how incredibly excited their kid was.
Friday, with the terrible shooting in Connecticut was a very hard day to be a teacher. We all knew, but had to hide it from our students. The school was actually in lock down mode when you got there and no kids were allowed on the computers as we tried to shield them from the news. Your visit meant that my kids had the best day possible and for that I will ever be grateful.
I spoke to your student manager about how big of a deal you coming was and he commented that he forgets how much people look up to you because he sees you on a regular basis. To my kids, you are the biggest role model they have ever met and the way you were with them showed your genuine heart. Perhaps when you retire from football you should consider becoming a teacher – it is horribly paid in money, but soulfilling in experiences.
Whatever happens to you, you should know that you matter. And how you are matters. Thank you for taking time out to see us. Best of luck to you, you will have 20 diehard fans rooting for you in the Rosebowl.
Thank you everyone; you matter.