Here in its unedited glory -- because D*** was also sort of unedited -- is what just landed in my e-mail:
Hey Mr. T, I'm doing very well thanks. Just to let you know you are a very hard person to get a hold of.
I've been looking for you since 05. This is going to be a pretty long e-mail but bare with me this is something that I have been waiting to do for a long time.
Mr. T. THANK YOU.
It took me a little longer than most but in the winter of 2005 I graduated from WCSU with a bachelors in communications.
I did have some troubles during the first year or two but I was still able to play football for four years, in those years we were nationally ranked and a division 3 football powerhouse, and even received conference rings. I even played hockey my last two years there. My junior year I met my girlfriend of which I am still with and living together. She'll likely be the girl I will marry sometime in the near future. Plus many more things that people experience in college, I'm sure you get the point.
I also had a teacher that I didn't really like till the last week or so of class. This teacher was an older man and very smart. One thing that I remember him saying during one of his lectures was "At some point during your life, even if it has happened already or will happen eventually. There will be a person that touches your life in some kind of way that you will never forget".
Mr. T I'm very proud to tell you that you were that person in my life. As soon as I heard that I turned to M****** M***** and told him that it was you. You were the first one that I thought of because it was you that got me into college. Yes I know I must have done something with my grades to get there Blah Blah Blah.
You know it, they sucked, but anyway, the letter of recommendation that you wrote was the best that they had ever seen in the admissions office. I was told that and because of that they gave me a chance to prove myself and attend in the fall.
Now, because of you I have my degree, the love of my life, friends from all over the country, and all the memories. I now have a job working at EB in electrical design and I have a bright future down there looking into supervision.
Ok so I guess that wasn't as long of an e-mail as I thought, it was a lot longer on the card I tried to send you 2 years ago. But, again Mr. T thank you for everything, I'm sure there are some things that I have forgot to tell you in this e-mail, but I'm sure its not going to be the last. I hope everything is well with you, and I hope to hear from you soon.
I had a day on Friday that reminded me why my passion is teaching. I love days like that especially at this time of year!
I had an IEP meeting with a mom whose son I have had in my class for two years. He came to me two years ago not even knowing how to draw a picture. I so clearly remember that day. I handed him a journal because he walked in during journal time and I quietly explained to him what to do. He gave me a blank stare and then just smiled at me. He sat down and I went on about my morning routine.
I looked at his journal about ten minutes later and there were lines, not pictures, drawn all over it. I looked at him and back at the journal. I asked him what he drew and he said, "That my mom!" Okay! I'll go with that! But man, was I scared. I had no clue where I was going to start with this little guy!
He had a label of developmentally delayed. Well, for two years we have worked and worked and worked some more! We've celebrated and I've cried at times. He acts like he thinks I'm the weirdest thing he's ever seen when I do the happy dance because he "got" something or he could read a WHOLE book (that is a big deal in 1st grade!). I know though that secretly, he loves my happy dance!
About five months ago he came to me and said, "Mrs. W, I can wead dis whole book!" I said, "Okay, read it to me!" He did, and I did the happy dance. Well this time he's looking at me like I've REALLY lost it. So I say, "Why are you looking at me like that?" He says, "Mrs. W you da one dat taught me how to wead, what you so 'cited about?" :)
Well, at this IEP meeting, the EC teacher was explaining his reevaluation and test results. His IQ is low average. He works way above what his IQ says in all areas. He has tested out of EC services! The mom is looking at the results and grinning from ear to ear. She looks up at me and just points at me. She couldn't talk because of her emotions. Then she finally said, "It's because of you," in a very shaky voice. I couldn't speak either. I just shook my head. I believe it is because of all (me, EC teachers, mom and the little guy) of our hard work. I am just so proud of my little guy and sad, but VERY happy to see him go to second grade. Nowadays when I try to teach him something or tell him something, he says, "Oh Mrs. W, I know dat!" :)
Have I said on here lately how much I love my job? In no other job can you get satisfaction like this! :)
A student in my class came in tardy Wednesday, the last day of school for the kids. The reason she was late was because she stopped at the store to buy me some flowers and a balloon. Her grandmother told me how happy they were that "Mary" could read. She said, "One day she couldn't read, the next day she came home and she was reading!"
This little girl transferred to my class in January from another district. It was right after we had finished DIBELS. She was given the test and on the Oral Reading Fluency part of DIBELS, she scored 8, which means that she was reading 8 words per minute. When we did DIBELS at the end of April, she scored 43 words per minute on the ORF. I realize that 43 words per minute is not really an outstanding score but it is quite an improvement in a little more than 3 months.
She just loves books and she wanted to read all the time. She took an AR book (on her level) home almost every night, read it and brought it back the next day to take an AR test. Then she would come to me with a big smile to tell me, "I got 100!" or "I got 80." Then she was off to pick another book.
This combined with small group instruction turned her on to reading. Like I told her grandma and her mom, she really deserves the credit for her improvement.
I checked the mail and saw a familiar shaped envelope for this time of year. I assumed it was a graduation announcement for my nephew or my niece (different sides of the family.) It was a graduation announcement, but not from a family member. It was an announcement from one of my previous students. I had never met the family before he was placed in my classroom, and I only know them now because of this relationship.
What an affirmation for what we do. By the time our students graduate, many of them have forgotten us (or rather, they assume we have forgotten them.) I wanted to share this with you today to remind you that every little thing we say and do makes a difference in the lives of our students. I dedicate this surprise in my mailbox to all of you. Thank you for your big part in shaping the next generation of America's leaders. Even if you don't get invitations, always know that you will have a place in the hearts of your little ones who have become big ones.