Part of the project includes the teacher giving the students a #IWishMyStudentsKnew response, which is posted below.
The beautiful thing about this project is that plants the seed of a strong teacher-student relationship that will help me serve them as a guide, mentor and teacher.
It was difficult to be open and honest with my note to the students; how much was too much? Was I really ready to open myself up that much? But I know that strong relationships can't exist without some level of openness and transparency.
Here's my 2016 #IWishMyStudentsKnew letter:
I wish my students knew that I’m more concerned about developing their identity and character than their grammar skills and standard knowledge. I didn’t get into education because I have strong, creepy relationships with grammar (although most YouTube comments sections make me cringe and die a little inside). Actually, I chose English because there’s so many great life lessons to learn from literature!
I wish my students knew that I suffer from extremely high expectations--first from myself, then from them. As a result, I’m never quite satisfied with my performance as a teacher or director; I’m always looking at the ways I could have done it better. I compare myself to the incredible teachers around me and want to be more like them. And because of this...
I wish my students knew that there are times throughout the year that I suffer from anxiety, stress, and feelings of incompetency...Especially when things don’t go as well as I envisioned them. I’m getting better at not comparing myself to others and to learn to enjoy the successes we share, but it’s an ongoing battle.
I wish my students knew that I believe every student that gets placed in my class is meant to be there for some reason. It maybe something small, like helping you understand a basic grammar concept. Or maybe it’s bigger; maybe I’ll help you find a way to navigate a difficult situation. And honestly, there’s something each student teaches me every semester, so it’s a mutually beneficial set up (which I appreciate).
I wish my students knew that I’m not concerned about their grade (if I had the choice, I wouldn't use grades). I’m only concerned about whether or not they are getting better.
I wish my students knew I am happy each and everyone of them is in my class.
I wish my students knew that I would be a teacher and director even if I was paid half as much as I am now, simply because I love working with students. It’s true what they say: if your job involves doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
I wish my students knew that at times I am hyper organized (like, ridiculously organized...it’s scary). And other times, I’ll be looking for the glasses that are on my face. Forgive my scattered mind.
I wish my students knew that they had the ability to control the direction of their high school career simply by the choices they make and the outlook they hold. I spent my teen years playing victim to my circumstances, and high school wasn’t as awesome as it should’ve been. NOTE: I didn’t say I could control my circumstances, but I did have control over my reaction.
I wish my students knew that many times, I suffer from “resting *witch* face”; I’m usually pretty high energy, so those moments I’m deep in thought, I look very angry or perturbed. MOST of the time, I’m not. I’m told I have a forehead vein that pops out when I’m actually angry (I’m not sure I believe that...I’ve never seen it myself), so as long as you don’t see that, all should be well (:
I wish my students knew that I don’t think anyone is a “bad kid” or a “lazy kid” or any other negative prefix teens usually get saddled with. I believe all people are good. We slip and fall sometimes, and sometimes our lives mold us into some pretty tough situations. That’s why I make it a habit of liberally spreading grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
I wish my students knew that I’m more concerned about building and maintaining a positive, constructive relationship than doling out punishment or consequences. That’s not to say consequences aren’t going to happen (I’m a big fan of natural consequences), but know that I don’t get a kick out of consequences.
I wish my students knew that, on average, I spend 50-70 hours a week at school. And while I make a huge effort to be calm and patient at all times, there are times (especially during tech week--you’ve been warned!) where I only have enough energy to stand and breathe. It’s those times that I struggle with patience, grace, and mercy. If you’re ever on the receiving end of this, please know it’s not you; it’s me. Please also know that it’s my personal protocol to apologize in person.
I wish my students knew that anytime something goes wrong--whether it’s a lesson that nobody understands or there are behavioral issues or work doesn’t get done on time--the first person I blame is myself, not the student. I look at what I have done or didn’t do to see how that may have caused the issue to exist in the first place.
I wish my students knew that they have a reason to exist. This world is waiting for you to come along and use your passions and talents to make someone else’s life better. It’s my job to help you get to where you can go out and make that happen.