I hadn’t known what to expect from Cat’s letter. As a student, Cat ‘bought into’ school in Cat’s own way. Though involved in school and in extra-curricular school activities, Cat wasn’t always center stage. Cat was an organizer, a supporter, and sometimes, one of the ones dreaming up the ideas. Cat did things Cat’s way. Cat did not text 14 times a week. Cat did not willing try to publish. Cat did not believe in teachers’ theories or the intuitions’ practices as absolutes. Cat questioned. Cat critiqued. And Cat pushed the rest of us to wonder along with Cat even when the questioning was darn uncomfortable!
What I know most is that over the past year, Cat listened. And Cat’s listening is lovely.
This past spring I was blindsided by some challenges that often left me wondering if our kids felt the reverberations of those challenges.
Throughout all of it though, all I know is that we were kind to one another. I felt our kids listening.
I think if we really want to listen with kindness, we hear another’s story in “the only place you will find it. Contained within the muted marks” (King, 2003, p. 155).
The last day of class the grade tens were quiet. They slowly busied themselves sorting, cleaning. We had had a magical year. And though we knew we would only be apart for a couple of months, we also knew we needed, in a way, to say goodbye.
We had journeyed together. We are a kind of family. We gathered one final time to tell stories.
Yesterday, as I read Cat’s note sitting in my car by the side of the road the beauty of our year is all that remains. Students’ narratives remain. The CD our kids made also remain. The poems they shared remain. The artwork offers visual testimonial. The journal entries they wrote remain. The lessons they taught are remembered, as are the lasting stories they shared. The stories continue, from students with a stunning courage to share. What remains of this past year is the reverberation of the treasures that we will take away from this year. What remains is the kindness of belonging to our class family.
Shared with permission, Most of Cat’s letter (I’ve made a few changes to names):
Not going to lie, as I sit here eating my Lucky Charms I am thinking about… Every time I cut Caesar salad at work I think of Mrs. S (first unit pre-calc). She will know what I am talking about. I now 100 % that she is a smart cookie! I use math everyday! I think of you when I see a child run to their mom and ask for 25 cents to get a ball. Then, shortly use it when they over bounce the ball! (hold on I need more lucky charms) Okay, I am back! I think of Jess too! Every time I see my brother playing with a stick, I just want to grab one and play Harry Potter! How is Mr. K doing? Oh, did you know if you rub his head it brings luck!
Work sucks. I burn myself often, but other than that, it’s good!
Ms. Saas, I picked the yellow one [bracelet] for you! You like outside, and the sun is yellow! Also, yellow is the colour of smilie faces. You’re always smiling and happy! 🙂
Cupcake, I picked you a pink one due to the fact pink is the colour of frosting on cupcakes!
Every word on the wrist band is how I would tell someone who you are!
I hope all is great and you have fun at school!
p.s. I won Hanna Idol!!