Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Letter to My Students

Dear Student,
I am honored and thrilled to be your 5th grade teacher this year. I take my job very seriously. One parent told me I live, eat, and breathe my kids for 180 days! Despite my great effort and my good intentions, I sometimes fumble. Here are a few things that you should know.
1.     I was not a perfect student and I don't expect you to be.
2.     We all learn differently. This year I hope you will help me understand how you learn best.
3.     Spelling well, knowing math facts quickly, and reading fast make learning easier, but they have nothing to do with intelligence. I will help you become better spellers, mathematicians, and readers, but intelligence is much more complex. Some of the best thinkers struggled with school skills. Please don't get discouraged if some skills are hard for you. It does not mean that you are stupid (at all). This year we will try to identify some strategies to make school work less frustrating. Asking questions is a great place to start! The only stupid question is the one not asked.
4.     Tell me if you are struggling. Effort can often be invisible. I wish I had a crystal ball, but I don't. Therefore, I cannot see inside your head. If I had one magic power it would be the ability to read minds so I could know what you are actually thinking. So, let me know if I assign something that feels overwhelming. That way, we can create effective supports or craft a workaround plan together.
5.     Sometimes I go too fast. I get too excited or ambitious or impatient. When I do, remind me to slow down. Everyone in the class will appreciate it, including me.
6.     I look forward to finding out what gets you up in the morning (besides your alarm). We will talk more about this in our Red Rubber Ball project as well! What are your dreams inside and outside of school? What are you passionate about? Let's try to connect them. That is where you will find the joy in learning.
Finally, sometimes school may not be easy, but it should never be miserable. Please don't suffer in silence.
Rayna L. Freedman, Agent 24

(Idea from Kyle Redford)

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