I love you. I know some of you don't hear it enough in your lives, if at all. I know it's not something that we often think of a teacher saying, but I do, I worry about you, I care about you, and I think about your futures. I love you, and I think more people need to start telling you. Obviously we are talking agape here, but I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you just why I love you:
1. You show up. In spite of what is going on in your lives. You fight battles each day both seen and unseen. Whether it is pressure in school, struggles at home, faltering friendships, or the sting of unrequited love. You carry a lot more than books and pens, and yet you sit in front of me. It not only shows how much courage you have, but how much hope you have for your future. It speaks volumes of the faith you have in yourself, and in me. I know there are days you don't want to be here. I know there are days when your world is crumbling and the last thing you care about is the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. You walk through the door anyway, and I love you for that.
2. You care about each other. I feel lucky to spend my days working with the future. I think teenagers get an unfair rep for being self absorbed and indifferent. I am constantly surprised by your random acts of kindness towards one another. You volunteer your time, you share your resources, and you love your neighbor. Does that mean that bullying doesn't exist? Of course not, but I have seen examples time and again of you accepting instead of dejecting, loving instead of hating, and giving instead of taking. You celebrate your differences and you fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. If this is what the future looks like, I know we're going to be okay, and I love you for that.
3. You make me laugh. I mean that in the best possible way. I chose to make a career change to education because it was the first time that I was excited to go to work in the morning. I still feel that way (most days, I'm human ya know)! You enrich my life in ways you couldn't possibly see. I learn so much from you, and I look forward to seeing you each day. In a world that can seem too serious at times, that is full of "doom and gloom" you give me a moment to pause and simply laugh and enjoy just being, and I love you for that.
4. You're game for anything. No matter what crazy technology, game, lesson plan, or idea I throw at you, you try it! I love that you are open to trying different methods of learning, that you accept my quirky teaching style, and never (okay rarely) complain! I know that if I learn about something in a workshop or conference, I can implement it the next day, I don't have to wait until next year, and I love you for that.
5. You're you. You as an individual bring something to our class, to our school, to our community that nobody else can. You have your own insights, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and ideas. You see the world in a unique way. You have your own ideas about what the world should look like and what the future holds. It is because of unique individuals like you that the human race continues to strive and make amazing changes. It is because of unique individuals like you that in a future history class, students will be learning about all that your generation contributed to the world. You are unapologetic in your "you"ness, and I love you for that.
So dear students, if no one else says it to you today, I love you. For the above reasons and many more. You need to hear it. No matter what you have done, no matter what you feel about your self-worth, you deserve love and appreciation. You are making your mark on the world in the best way that you know how, with what life has handed to you. You make me a "teacher" but even more important, you make me strive to be a better person, and I love you for that.
Happy Valentine's Day,