Dear Teacher,

In a few short weeks I am moving onto a new and unknown future – retirement. I am taking a step forward while at the same time glancing back over my shoulder at all I am leaving behind. The reflections of 100s of students, colleagues who shaped my career and parents look at me as I make my way toward the front door one last time. Too many names to mention, too many stories to share and not enough time to give it all justice in one letter. But… some words are meant to be left behind for all those who remain and share the same passion I did for thirty years.

I teach, therefore

Teachers, let me remind you why you are a teacher ~ starting with all the reasons why you are not teaching…

Common core curriculum, standardized tests, reading guarantees, PARCC, teacher evaluation systems, MAP/MPG testing, creating better lesson plans, essential understandings, Marzano and the list can go on and on and on.

None of these things defines you and gives you the title of teacher. All of the above are the ways the state board of education, social media and people with no education backgrounds rate you. They do not know you and your heart for children. They do not enter the trenches where you face challenges, successes and everything in between on a daily basis.

Google tells us that a “teacher is a person who teaches, especially in a school”. A very generic definition for a job that is anything but that. You are so much more than a person who teaches – you are a role model for every child who has ever walked into your classroom. Teach.com defines a role model as:

A role model is a person who inspires and encourages us to strive for greatness, live to our fullest potential and see the best in ourselves. A role model is someone we admire and someone we aspire to be like. We learn through them, through their commitment to excellence and through their ability to make us realize our own personal growth. We look to them for advice and guidance.

Teachers you are amazing and I see all the potential and passion you pour into your jobs each day.

  • You know the needs of your students sometimes even before they do.
  • You love your students even on the days that love is the farthest thing from your mind.
  • You know your students so well that you can ask them about their dog, their siblings or their favorite sport
  • You learn things about your students that break your heart to the point that you would give anything to make it better for them
  • You know the curriculum but you don’t need a high stakes test every couple of months to tell you where to head in your instruction

You see straight into the heart of your students and that is so much more than just teaching!

A piece of who I am will remain in the hearts of each of my students and in each of you. The legacy is yours to carry forward. I encourage you to always know that you are a teacher because of every student who sits in front of you each school year.

You teach, therefore you…

encourage

inspire

love

make a difference 

empower

When I am asked what my job is I proudly tell them “I am a teacher”. It has been my greatest honor, passion and joy for the last 30 years. I pray that each of you grows your legacy through each success story, every sound of excitement and laughter you foster in your classroom, and all the love that you leave behind in your students.

Leaving you soon, but with you forever!

An almost retired teacher

Blessed to be linking with:

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