Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dear New Mrs. Ripp Student

Tomorrow is our first day together and even though we teachers benefit from our vacation almost as much as you do, we also spend a lot of time preparing and waiting anxiously for you to come back to us.  This year was no different for me, except if at all possible, I was even more excited to have you come back.  You see, we are a combination classroom.  A bunch of 4th and 5th graders thrown together, it is now us against the world no matter our age or our grade; we belong.  And while others may look at us differently or ask you a lot of questions, know that I like that we are different.  I like that we have different ages in our room.  I like that we cannot be classified as just a regular classroom.  I like that I have to think about what I teach and not just say one grade level.  I really like that we have kids with a lot of different abilities and talents that will learn form each other. 

Just like you, I have to learn too and so this summer that is what I did.  I learned that Thea loves it when you read the same book over and over, especially the one about Fergus the dog.  I learned that my husband really likes it when I just sit and read next to him or when I recommend books for him.  I learned that my 95 year old grandfather in Denmark thinks that my daughter is just about the best thing that has ever happened to this family (I agree).  I learned that my little brother will be shipped to Afghanistan in January and that I worry about him now already.  I learned that a dog's heavy breathing will indeed keep you up at night, especially when that dog is 100 pounds and tries to snuggle with you next to your bed.  I learned that books are not always good just because a  lot of people have read them.  Did you know it is okay to not finish a book - crazy, right?  I learned that thousands of educators are on Twitter just waiting for you to ask them a question.  I learned that blogging and writing about your thoughts can be a great way to inspire and learn from others.  I learned that Chinese food doesn't have to taste bad.  I also learned that Madison is one of the best cities for little kids; oh the adventures we have had.   I learned that no elementary student should be given an F because as long as they are learning they are not failing.  I learned that technology can both give you time and steal it away.  I learned that no matter how many times you do an orientation day you will always have jitters, nerves and never feel prepared enough.  I also learned that the excitement for the first day of school only builds, never diminishes.  I learned that i have many more things to learn.

So whether you have had me before or have no idea who this crazy teacher is; welcome, I am so excited you are here.  I hope we will learn together.


Charlotte said...

Love that you took on the classic week 1 "What I did this summer" essay prompt yourself! You share so much about yourself, your family, your interests, and your passion for teaching - I hope you'll share this with your students!

Katie Hellerman said...

A sweet letter that brought a little smile and maybe a bit of water to the old eyes. Look forward to hearing of your adventures this school year!

Pam Thompson said...

What a wonderfully welcoming letter for your students. If I was a new student coming into your class I'd already feel as if I knew you just a little and would feel less apprehensive or nervous.

It's made me think that writing a personal letter to my students at the start of our new school year would be a good idea. Thanks for sharing!


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