being a teacher, being me

To the Girl Who Wrote Last Night

Dear you,

This morning I woke up in St. Louis, ready and excited to present at yet another conference, wondering if I would ever get over my nerves.  I quick jumped on my email and couldn’t believe what you had sent me.  That long of an email.  SO many words.  I quick skimmed it to make sure you were okay and then sat down and couldn’t believe what you wrote.
As teachers, and particularly of 7th graders, we don’t know whether what we do matters.  Whether what we try with you actually makes a difference.   Half the time I felt crazy last year trying to make you and everyone else feel like you were part of a community and that I cared about you.  Half the time I felt the eye rolls follow me home, sure that I was not good enough to be your teacher.  So thank you.  Thank you for not giving up on me as a teacher.  Thank you for letting me in to your world, for trusting me, for thinking that I had worth because there were days that I felt like I was the worst teacher in the world.
I am so proud of you and who you are.  You have so much to offer to the world, so much creativity to unleash, and I am so thankful that I get to be a tiny part of your life’s journey.  I, too, miss school, which is weird, but mostly I miss you students.  I miss our every day.  Our inside jokes.  Our routine, our stories, our moments that took my breath way.  I can’t believe that I have to start all over with new kids, start from the bottom again,  and only see you guys in the hallway.  Yet, that’s what we do as teachers, we put our hearts out there so that you kids have a chance at knowing that you matter, that someone cares about you, even when you don’t seem to care about yourself.  So thank you for giving me your words and letting me in.  For sending that letter last night.  I have been telling the world about my amazing 7th graders, and you were one of them.  I have hared your words hoping that others will see the truths that bestowed me with.  Hoping that together we can change our schools.  I am so incredibly grateful that I got to be your teacher.  You will never know how much that title means to me, even after you leave OMS and move into the world.
Mrs. Ripp

2 thoughts on “To the Girl Who Wrote Last Night”

  1. Pernille, as she moves out of your class, into the hallways and into her other world, you will always be a part of who she is and who she is to become. This is simply called ‘ making a difference’ in your students’ lives. Is this not what it’s all about?

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth. My kids are 5th grades. I have two classes now that I teach a Chinese Immersion group. I have been at the same school for 19 years. I love those kids and families. I often wonder what and how I made a difference for them. I give every ounce of everything I have (teachers understand this) to make our time together meaningful. Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

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