An Open Letter to My Students

Dear Students,

I hope you are doing well right now. That’s how everyone has been starting stuff like emails and phone calls, isn’t it? Maybe I should start this letter to you how I always greet you in the morning. I’ll start over.

Hi [state your name]! I’m so glad you’re here today. Did you have a good breakfast? Pop tarts? Chocolate fudge pop tarts? My favorite! Where’s mine? Bring me one tomorrow. What was your favorite thing about the weekend? Sleeping and video games– yes, sounds like my kids too. I’ve heard all about Animal Crossing. Why do they talk like that?

Late slip? No worries. Just put it on my desk. You know where it goes. I’m so glad you’re here today. Of course you can eat breakfast at the back table. Hurry though because I don’t want you to miss too much. Awesome, thanks! Of course you can save anything you want for snack or lunch but put it away though and not on top of your desk.

Okay, kids. This is what we’re doing today. The agenda is on the board and put your homework on your desk. I’m coming to check now… thank you for doing your homework. And where is–? Right, you know to finish your homework at recess. Let me know if you have any questions.

So kids, I have an announcement.

You know that I absolutely love being a teacher and not just any teacher… YOUR teacher. I tell everyone how amazing you are. That’s why our principal, vice principal, teachers from this school, and teachers from other schools want to visit us see how much you’re learning every day. In fact, you really have impressed them by how much you’ve improved your study habits since the beginning of the year. Remember how I had you look through your writing from the beginning of the year and compare it to what you’re writing now? It’s crazy, right?

What’s the announcement? Oh yes, I have started telling my stories again and ha ha, you’re that much closer to recess. My announcement is that I won’t have the privilege of teaching you in person for the rest of the year.

(I know I’m not saying anything right now. I’m taking a big breath and yes, I know it looks like I’m about to cry.)

This virus has made it impossible to teach you in person and for this, I’m so so sorry.

But look, I’m going to always be your teacher. Even when you’re in fifth grade, in sixth grade, and on and on. I’m still going to be your teacher.

I know you’re going to miss me dressing up in my Hogwarts robe, my unicorn head, my rainbow poop hat. You’re going to miss the smell of creamer in the morning and the pictures from comic cons I share and the silly stories I tell, all so I can make the time in our classroom a little more fun than I remember my own fourth grade classroom was when I was your age. You’re going to miss when I do weird voices and read in a southern or English accent. You’re going to miss when I randomly talk in character voices like Tina Belcher during math. I was working on a few other voices too but don’t worry. You’ll hear them in our daily Zoom meetings. Yes, I know some of you can’t log on or can’t get your computer to work or your older sibling gets the computer first. Just tell your parents to email me and we’ll figure it out, okay?

You’re going to miss me because I’m so awesome– duh– but I’ll miss you more. You really don’t know how much I miss you now. Dudes, I’m worried about you! I wonder what you’re eating for breakfast, what your favorite weekend activity was. I worry about your families and want so much to tell them that they are doing such a great job helping you at home. I want them to not worry about how much you learning you might be missing out on. I want to remind them that students all around the world are exactly where you are right now.

We’re scared. And that’s okay. We’re worried and tired and sad and confused.

And that’s okay too.

Tell your families that’s how your teacher feels too.

And that’s okay.

It’s so exciting to see how much you have grown up, not just in height, but in understanding the expanding world around you. You don’t let it bother you that you can’t do something. Yet. You’ve made friends in our class. You’ve made mistakes and learned from them. You keep trying mostly because I make you but I see that you’re beginning to see what I see: an outstanding kid who knows that I’ll always have your back.

No, please don’t cry. Okay, I know. I started it. I’m not crying though. Okay, I am but I’m not sad anymore. I’m crying because you’ve made me so proud to be your teacher.

You do the best you can the rest of the year and I’ll see you soon.

Love,

Ms. G

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