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06 December 2004: That's What It's All About (2 of 5)
As many elementary school teachers do, I received many, many love letters during my first year of teaching. By love letters, I mean that my fifth graders often went to great lengths to create drawings, envelopes, letters, or even sculptures, with the messages of "Your the best teacher!" and "I love you!" At first, these letters were priceless treasures. I kept every single one--even the ones that were spelled wrong. (You think they would have sparked a mini-lesson on your vs. you're, but clearly I was just focusing on the positive.) I put these treasures on my bulletin board, my desk, in my planner, in my car, at home on bathroom mirrors, the refrigerator, even at my mom's house. They were my legacy. I believed they were my evidence that I was making a difference, building tomorrow, and doing my job well. My experience and distance from that time and place tells me so much more about my teaching. While these mementos were evidence of a sort, upon reflection I've decided they're not necessarily good news.