What they taught me today

A couple of my girls in first hour came in to class today holding streamers and candy.

“It’s A’s birthday today!” one of the declared.

“We want him to know we’re friends–not just acquaintances,” the other one informed me.

I laughed as they proceeded to decorate his desk. But then I realized the depth and beauty in what my student had just said.

We want him to know we’re friends–not just acquaintances. 

Sometimes people ask me how I could possibly be around teenagers all day. I typically respond with, “You must not know very many teenagers.”

I’m constantly reminded about how much I have to learn from my students. They’re this fabulous combination of goofy and oh-so-genuine, of innocent and mischievous. They crack me up and they make me reevaluate my life all in one breath.

Today, they taught me that friends are better than acquaintances. And they inspired me to make more friends and fewer acquaintances.

*****

Right as I was packing up to leave this evening, my inbox dinged, signaling a new email. I saw that it was a from a student I had in class three years ago. She had just been thinking about our class and decided to tell me. Again, their generosity and sincerity blows me away…

…Then I thought about being in your pre-calc class and was reminded how well you care for your students and how comforting and encouraging that is to them. It always was for me! I know you want your students to succeed in math, but you also invest in each individual and that is so evident in the way you teach and run your classroom. I always felt so cared for in your class! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and say thanks for being an incredible teacher and role model! You are a light to all who know you!

Lesson #2 today: tell people “thank you” more often.

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