We recently wrapped up teacher appreciation week – which is nice. I always enjoyed the ice creams and occasional gift cards. My administrators were always on the lookout for ways to show their gratitude. My favorite was when Carrie Higdon hand delivered Starbucks coffee – she came by my room with one of those huge coffee containers and poured the smallest cup of coffee I had ever seen. We got the giggles. It was fun.
But I want to take a few words and appreciate my students because, without them, I wouldn’t have the experiences and memories that I do. I will do this in different parts because it represents my journey.
The Newbie Teacher 1997-2002
For those students of mine from 1997-2002, I appreciate your patience. You were dealing with a teacher who was trying to find his way. Who was learning the art of teaching. And making some bad blunders. But you hung in there. You did almost everything I asked of you. With your questions, you pushed me toward becoming the teacher I am today. I also want to apologize to this bunch. Wow. I knew nothing, yet we all survived – and learned. Because of you, I knew I had found my passion. Thank you.
The Developing Teacher 2003-2010
My students from 2003-2010, what a blessing you were to me. There was a school change in there, but during this period we had fun. We had fun because you worked so darn hard. You reached toward every challenge I put in your way. Sometimes we all struggled to get there, but we learned so much on our journey. You – You – are the group that led me to the fabulous festive winter holiday lights. You were the group that led me to the fun music in between classes. And you were the group that hung with me through the births of my three children (who are growing up so fast). You supported me in ways you will never understand or know – thank you.
The Changing Teacher 2011-2018
For my students from 2011-2018, you got to experience experimental Haselwood. The class structure changed so much from previous years, and, although you could be grumpy – you did everything I asked of you. When I flipped the classroom, you weren’t too happy. You hung in there, and when I sought input and feedback, you were more than glad to share. You also showed me that you could change too – that you could learn to do things a bit differently and still be ok. The experiences you provided me encouraged me to pursue Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Your efforts here were so fantastic. Thank You.
The Coach Teacher
For my players – wow. Because of you, I have had experiences other coaches dream about. It is through your efforts that I have had the opportunity to win a state title, a state runner-up, and numerous district and league championships. Most coaches dream of these things; I almost took them for granted. You are so gifted and talented. I so loved that we can share those memories. Thank you.
I Miss You
For those students who are no longer with us, I miss you. It is a terrible thing, to lose you at such a young age when your entire life is still in front of you. But the short time you were in my life, you blazed as bright as the sun. Doing amazing things, challenging me to be a better teacher/coach/person. You will never be forgotten, and though you are not with us, I will cherish the memories that we made together in the classroom and on the field. You are missed, thank you for the impact you had on my life.