Each end of the school year brings mixed feelings: The relief that the marathon of lessons and assignments is coming to a close along with the sadness to say goodbye to students who I have known up to all four years of high school. This annual beginning and end of the work year makes teaching a unique profession. It provides the teacher a life lesson. As a teacher you are more aware of your own mortality for while the clientele remains the same age year after year, you grow older. You realize that even after you retire, there will still be sophomores attending high schools learning from other teachers. The sweetest moments come from the students who write personal thank you cards and letters. Their complimentary words act as oxygen to the weary teacher, nudging the veteran educator to work a little harder on the next lesson, next year. English teachers lead the charge of teaching writing in the classroom. Yet with all the lessons on thesis statements, concrete details, and transitions, the most precious writing of all comes from the students’ hearts. When the day comes for me to retire, it is this bulging folder of student writing that will be the one item that I’ll cherish the most. -- Brian Crosby is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.
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