End of Semester Gratitude

thank you note for every language

Image by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

The Fall-Winter 2010 semester is over for me. My grades have been reported. The contents of my unattractive yet functional wheelie bag have been dumped and placed with the rest of the luggage — in the nether regions of the basement. Today, I am getting my hair highlighted. It’s been fifteen weeks since my last highlight or cut. (The straightening thing doesn’t count.) Don’t even ask about the state of my fingernails at the moment. I have a way of letting certain things go during the semester. But now it is time to catch up.

This morning, I popped onto my faculty email account to make sure everything was in order, and I found two pieces of email waiting for me. The first indicated that my grades may have been inaccurately reported (are you $%#@! kidding me?) so I had to check another link to a list upon which — thankfully — my name did not appear. And then there was a second piece of mail. Here it is:

Dear Mrs. RASJ,

I would just like to say thank you for everything, Mrs. Renee Jacobson. I learned so much in your class and I am so glad I received an A! I know you’re probably going to write back, “You worked hard for that A and you deserve it,” but there is no way in hell I would have done it without you.

You just did so much to help, and you ARE a good teacher. You have amazing patience with students; you’re fair, and you’re always willing to help. You are very thoughtful and you really put your time in to teaching your students, and you do it all without babying us. That’s the way a teacher should be, and it is really hard to come by these days.

Thank you for putting up with my short temper at times, for sitting down with me to talk almost everyday, and for the donuts and wisdom pendant. You are very thoughtful.

It was nice to be educated by you. I wish you the bast (sic) of luck and times.

With love and sincerity.

Your favorite student ever,
Student X🙂

This student knows me. Because I would absolutely have said that he earned his “A,” that it had little to do with me. An “A” in my class means he did his work and he did it well. It means he showed up and participated. It means he took advantage of extra credit opportunities. It means he was a good peer editor and gave solid feedback. It means he was respectful. It meant he asserted himself. If he didn’t understand how to do something, he made an appointment to meet with me to figure it out. It means he came prepared with all his materials: all his books, handouts, and writing utensils. Every day. He was on-time. When he contributed to the conversation, his comments were meaningful — and when he received criticism, he was not defensive. His writing often showed great depth, and he taught me something on more than one occasion. He was honest (in his writing) and open (as a human being).

I don’t give A’s. To me, an “A” means something akin to “amazing,” and very few people are. So I will share this letter with all the teachers out there who understand how much letters like these really mean. People so rarely write letters these days, typed or otherwise, it is always a bit of a thrill for me when I receive one. For an educator, a letter from a former student is a shot of fuel that helps fill up a near empty tank. Those little gestures keep us keepin’ on.

So thank you, Student X. You put a little bounce in my step today.

What put a bounce in your step today?

27 responses to “End of Semester Gratitude

  1. 5th line from bottom student’s letter: Looks like student got an “a” in best too.

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  2. I work with young adults who have various disabilities. Today I worked with them at a day program our agency runs. I invited my daughter, who is home from college on winter break, to join us so she can spend time with my clients, and she did. She came and played Bingo, talked and had fun with them. All just because I asked her to. She’s a great kid and today, for the millionth time, she put a bounce in my step.

    Renee – you are an amazing woman whose passion for life runs through your veins and often spurts out onto those around you. I am lucky enough to get some of that passion on me when I’m around you (which isn’t often enough!)

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  3. Those letters are the best when you get anything like it especially one with so much thought put in there. I’ve got to admit that this semester, actually this past year, has included more slackers than I think I’ve seen in the past 5. I don’t know if 2010 was just an off year or if we’ve kicked it down a notch in the effort department. Sometimes getting those final grades in is depressing when you see the ones who should’ve aced the class and just didn’t care. I’m glad you got a bounce in your step. Now hop over to the nail salon and enjoy.

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  4. You are a great teacher and wonderful person. Letters like that make all the other @#$ worth it. [I’m pretty sure you would say something like that..]

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    • So Jennifer, thank you for the nice compliment, but you did not complete your assignment. What is putting a bounce in your step today? I do not generally accept late work, but I will make an exception in this case. Make sure it is your “bast” work.😉

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  5. Today is my last day of work until January 3rd. I am traveling to Arizona in 7 days to see the Fiesta Bowl (Go Huskies!). I get to hang out around the house for 5 days with my family. That is putting a HUGE bounce in my step.

    I also echo what Jennifer said!

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  6. ‘It was nice being educated by you’. That is AWESOME, what every teacher would like to hear! Congrats on being done, and yes, get that manicure and get into a party dress, girl!

    Not having students, it’s Christmas cookies that are putting a bounce in my step today🙂

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  7. I have come in contact with over twenty students that I taught between 45 and 52 years ago. I remember them and they remember me. I met 13 of them last June at Wegmans in Syracuse. It made my year!!!!!!

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  8. What a beautiful letter!! All I can say is “DITTO!!”

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    • You, I’d better not lose track of, Ms. Odelia 2010. I can’t wait to hear where you end up. I know where you want to end up, but it will sound weird if I say it here, so I will just wish you the best of everything and pray that all of your dreams are fulfilled. You are definitely on the right track.🙂

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  9. I got to go to lunch with my good friend and this great teacher. Got some bounce in my step from sharing Arancini balls.

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  10. My office is located in an old 2 story house. My employer requests that we not wear shoes or snow boots on their hardwood floors during the winter months so today I received a nice new pair of slippers, courtesy of my employer. I don’t think I’ve owned a pair since I was a child. They are so comfy, I was ready for a nap — especially after we (my co-workers and I) were treated to a holiday lunch with pizza, their homemade wine, and chocolates.

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  11. I get a bounce when my children and grandchildren give me a hug and tell me they love me. What can be more thrilling than that?

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  12. Reading this almost a year and a half after you posted it. Awesome letter.

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