Monday, June 11, 2012

Every man should follow the bent of his nature in art and letters, always provided that he does not offend against the rules of morality and good taste.

I'm not a confrontational person. As a result, I have a habit of writing letters to express my feelings. On many occasions, I never send those letters. Instead, I use them as a cathartic release. Since I am still dealing with the feeling that my life is hovering on the precipice of fate, I decided to write a letter today. This letter is to the next person who occupies my desk at school. For some reason I am terrified that next year my classroom won't be the happy, comforting place that it was this year. I haven't decided yet if I will leave this in my desk, but I think that posting it will go a long way toward helping me close this chapter of my life.

To the next occupant of this desk:

You may be new here, or you may have been here for years. Nothing is certain, which is surprisingly the one thing that I am certain of. As you’re reading this, I could be anywhere; I certainly cast my net wide enough. My name is Brooke, and although you and I may never meet, it’s almost as if we know each other. After all, I was the last person to sit in the chair that you are sitting in now. I was the last person to teach a class in what is now your room, and I was the last person to experience the “first day of school” excitement from your vantage point.

If you are new here, be prepared to feel the whole range of emotions this year. I bet that when you became a teacher, you never imagined that you would find yourself in an old building with no air conditioning, teaching the students that didn't seem to fit in anywhere else. I know that when I was in college, my dreams of my first classroom didn't include peeling paint, laptop carts that only work some of the time, and students that would just as soon cuss you out as sit down and listen.

Don’t be afraid, although perhaps a little fear is good for you. My time in this room was one that I will always remember. Before you get started though, I want you to take a minute and forget everything you’ve heard from the other teachers. I’m sure they’ve told you all of the juicy gossip and horror stories. Walk down the hall and talk for a minute with Robyn Barberry; she’s got her head on straight and she’ll give you the truth. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; this year will be anything but sunshine and roses. It will be hard, frustrating, and at times you’re going to feel like you’d rather be anywhere else. Remember this though, every time a student cusses at you, or walks out, they’re just asking you to notice them. Pay attention to them from the beginning, and you’ll have far fewer issues.

You became an educator for a reason, and you probably ended up here for a reason too. Whether you are a teacher, or a paraeducator, or anything else, you are going to play a huge role in the lives of the students at CEO this year. Regardless of your role, you will teach them, whether you mean to or not. These
kids are sponges, and for the most part, they’re searching for something to give validity to their lives, just like we all are. Do your best to help them find that. Do it because they are going to teach you something every day. Do it because I promise that if you let it, your time at this school will inspire you. Most of all, give this a chance, and I hope that some of the happiness and fun and learning that has happened in this room will lend you support.

Take care of these kids and yourself, and have a wonderful year.

Brooke Travers

1 comment:

  1. You definitely should put that in the desk. It's almost as if you're acting as a prophet and delivering God's message to this teacher.
    Thought you'd like that religious analogy.