During my student teaching experience in college, my cooperating teacher gave me an empty notebook. She said that throughout her 25+ year career, there were moments she wished she had documented. Moments that were special and unique. Moments with her students that she now wanted to reflect on and enjoy. Listening to her intently and literally doing everything she suggested, because, well, she was the most influential, kind, caring, demanding, encouraging teacher I had as a senior in high school. And as she was now guiding me as I began my career as a teacher, I vowed to use this notebook. Now having taught high school English for several year, I have some precious and somewhat ridiculous notations from students, past and present. My notebook has become a place the last several years to write down the hilarious moments, the rather non-educational moments. It has become a place that I store the little notes students give me. And every time I open and read, I’m taken back to the moment and can smile about how these kiddos allowed me to be part of their years that are the most impressionable, the most important.
So, if you are a teacher, new or seasoned, I encourage you to grab a notebook and write down moments you want to cherish. It is something so special. Here are a handful of my gems:
“Speak forth my vocal brother!” -a student commanding a peer to contribute a very thoughtful response to a socratic seminar
“I’m not immature, I’m in-tell-i-gente.” -a student telling any classmate that would listen about his mental prowess
“If you were going to die from a heart attack, right now, is this what you would want hear last!?” -a student in response to the very realistic cat noises a peer kept making
“Someone farted in the hallway and they need to own up to it!” -this is self explanatory…
“Miss, I have to tell you something that is bothering me. My grandma is on Farmer’s Only and she isn’t even a farmer!” -a student disturbed by their grandmother’s decisions
“You make English fun. No one can do that. I love coming to your class because of this. You are special and I think you are a wonderful teacher.” -anonymous letter
“You have taught me more than just English. You taught me about life. I love you.” -a former student
“You are great. Remember that. That’s it.” -a former student
“You always inspire me to be better and do better. Thank you. Seriously. Now, be pregnant at graduation so I can take a picture touching your belly.” -a former student
“Miss, I wanted to tell you that since I started at this school a few weeks ago, I’ve been really scoping out my teachers. Ya know, seeing who I like. I wanted to tell you that you are my favorite. Ever. Of life. I love you already.” -a new student
—And this is why I love my job. These kids are what make everything worth it. They deserve the best. Period.