One month ago, I said goodbye to my third group of second graders. This bunch stole my a large piece of my heart this year, with their big personalities, silliness, excitement for learning, and love for both me, their teacher, and their fellow classmates.
Each year as I say goodbye to each little one that has been a part of my room for the year, I like to share a letter affirming them of my love, have them watch a video of their memories and put a thumb print on our classroom “tree” to match the thumbprints they have left on my heart.
Below you will find a letter for my “Sunshine Class” and the tree complete with the prints of three years worth of students in my classes and in my heart:
My dear Sunshine class,
Congratulations second graders, YOU DID IT! You made it from the first day climbing all the way up to the top floor for your classroom for the very first time. In the 180 days that followed your reading skills grew, many of you improving 30-40 words a minute and most of you in your love of reading! You learned main idea and cause and effect, compare and contrast and so much more. You learned to have willpower from Frog and Toad and learned lessons from the Superkids. You wrote fractured fairytales, how-tos, personal stories and animal research papers! In math, you learned to add and subtract three digit numbers, how to tell time, measure and count money! You learned the parts of a plant and how to care for the earth from the Lorax. And just as importantly, you learned how to be kind, how to work with a group, how to work hard and show effort, you learned how to belly-breathe and use self talk, and you learned how to love learning.
So I want to say thank you;
Thank you for being a part of my class this year.
Thank you for saying “have an excellent lunch” or “have a great lunch” everyday back to me and meaning it.
Thank you for being kind to one another.
Thank you for learning how to work as a team and communicate respectfully.
Thank you for hugging a crying friend or helping someone with work at recess.
Thank you for your excitement for learning and for putting lots of effort into being the best you can be.
Thank you for laughing with me and at me when I make a joke and dropped something or almost tripped and fell.
Thank you for making me laugh by calling me “Meassick” or telling me I look pregnant both when I wasn’t and when I actually was.
Thank you for blowing me away with your minds, like when one of you said yesterday that I’m like the sun and ideas are like the rain and that you are like the grass that grows from both.** (See below!)
Thank you for listening to me and learning from me, that’s one of the greatest gifts for a teacher.
Thank you for telling me I’m the best teacher on my best days and on my worst days!
Thank you for being you! Each and everyone of you, you marvelous you.
We truly did an amazing thing; making a beautiful team in this classroom this year. I will never forget sitting on my stool, just watching you all learning and working together, simply amazed at how wonderful you are and getting to enjoy just being your teacher. Pretty soon you will all be third graders but in your last minutes as second graders I want you to know each one of you has had a piece of my heart this year. As I said in my awards yesterday, each one of you is uniquely precious to me. You will always have the things you learned in this classroom and you will always have my love and support!
With love, your teacher,
I began calling this group my sunshine class, in those last few weeks that led up to the end of the year, as I reflected on the joy and light they had brought to me over 2016-2017. On our last full day, after cleaning desks and lysol-ing every last inch of our classroom, we wrote letters to the future second graders that would come to share the sacred space that we had graced together this year. I encouraged the students to draw pictures of the memories they had shared in the margins of the letters, and one of my analytical- mathematician-type boys called me over to share his. In the spaces on the sides of his paper he had drawn pictures of grass, rain and sunshine. He said, “Mrs. Meassick, we, your students, are the grass, and ideas, they are the rain. And you, Mrs. Meassick, you are the sun that helps us to grow.” I could not stop my heart from melting in that moment. Thank you dear one for not only being the sun in my life, but allowing me to shine into yours.
(Note: He labeled the grass, “yous,” guess I didn’t quite teach him everything he needs to know about grammar 😉