Today’s Memorial Day, a day in which we remember those who have given their lives to protect our country. I am deeply grateful for their dedication and sacrifice, but today I’ve been working on a different kind of memorial. I spent pretty much the whooooooole day writing end-of-year notes to my kids. They’re not long, just three or four sentences and they take about three minutes each to write, but when you’ve got 119 kids, that adds up. Fast.
I meant to start them earlier in the week but kinda forgot, and then I meant to start Saturday morning but kinda procrastinated (I did spend three hours grading on Saturday, so it’s not like I was just, y’know, enjoying my personal free time or something crazy like that), and then I meant to do them yesterday but only got through about fifteen of them, and then this morning, there it was. So I spent the day watching movies and basketball and writing my cheerful little letters.
The point of the letters is to focus on something the kids are good at so that they end the year on a positive note and have a good memory with which to start the summer. To show that they’re seen, as individuals, as someone who matters with individual characteristics that make them different and special. Sometimes I write about content-based stuff, but mostly I focus on personal qualities: hard work, good attitude, sense of humor, loyalty, etc. Traits that can translate to most areas of life.
I started it last year because I had a teacher who wrote me and all my classmates year end notes when I was in high school, and it was incredibly meaningful to me. I think most of my kids really appreciate it; last year I found one in the hallway that a student had dropped, and when I returned it to him, he thanked me profusely and said he’d been worried that he’d lost it. Maybe some couldn’t care less, but no one likes those kids anyway. Kidding, kidding! Probably.
Over the course of the day I managed to get almost all of them done. Then my hand started cramping up, so the last ten are going to have to wait until tomorrow.
I’m kind of excited to give them out. And I hope that the men and women who gave so much would appreciate that instead of just barbequing today, I worked on improving the lives and self-esteem of many of those for whom the sacrifices were made.