Dear Fabulous 4th graders,
When I look at you in the morning, I see the future. Bright eyes, some anyway, bushy-tailed, again some not all, but eager. Kids that are genuinely excited to at least be at school even if math for an hour and 15 minutes isn't at the top of their list for fun things to do right away in the morning. Yet there you are, letting me in and wanting me to know about you and your dreams. And you let me in; it is amazing what you share: "Hey Mrs. Ripp, I stayed up until 1 AM last night! Mrs. Ripp, guess what? What? I threw up after eating too much candy last night, it was orange. Mrs. Ripp, my parakeet died last night." And every day I am grateful for what you share, for the smiles you give, for the voices you raise whenever you have the courage to.
And that's it for me. The draw of being a teacher. The trust you give me every day, the genuine emotions that are exhibited whether good or bad; there is no curtain. I don't ever take it for granted, it is a gift, something to be in awe of and cherish. The magic of teaching for me comes when that moment occurs that not only do you "get" something, but you "get" me, us, the classroom, and you trust it. Trust isn't easy to give when you are a 4th grader already hardened and partially jaded to the world from bad playground experiences and horrid classroom memories. Trust is something we hope to earn as teachers, never something to be taken for granted or forced. trust comes through sharing with the students, opening yourself up and letting those kids into your life a little bit. Then it's my turn to say, "Hey kids, guess what? What? I am sorry I was out yesterday but I was so sick. Did you throw up? Yeah maybe. Was it orange...?"