Dearest Students and Families,
This year has been a hard one. You and I have been surrounded by a lot of tough news stories and a lot of tough realities to face. The world around us has seemed a bit more cruel this year and a bit more difficult to find the good in. There were some days when it seemed as if the hate was winning, as if love was having a harder and harder time winning.
And those were the days, those were the moments, when I was most grateful to walk into our classroom and to be surrounded by you. Because just when the world had done its best to convince me that there was more darkness than light, you all showed me that it was, in fact, quite the opposite. You all, time and time again, restored my hope in this world and allowed me to continue to believe that people were inherently good.
This year, you have been my light.
Every time you have been willing to grapple with tough questions and search for tough answers, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we no longer just accept things as they always have been.
Every time you engaged in discussion about what we can learn from listening to the stories that other people share, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we use technology to truly connect us to other human beings instead of using it to tear them down.
Every time you were willing to confront your own assumptions and challenge them in order to push beyond them, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we accept that we all have biases and then work to move ourselves to a place where they do not affect the way we treat others.
Every time you have challenged yourselves to read a book that is about a character or a person who does not look like you or live like you, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we are empathetic to all people and not only those who are just like us.
Every time you have used your words and your writing to ask for change in order to create a better place for us all to live, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where people no longer sit quietly while there are wrongs to make right.
Every time you have discussed an issue that adults have said is too controversial or too confusing for children to understand, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we stop seeing human lives as controversial and start seeing them simply as people.
Every time you have been willing to question instead of just accept the things that you are told, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we are no longer content to consume information without first critically evaluating it.
Every time you have been able to recognize that voices are not being heard and then go out of your way to uncover those hidden voices, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we are no longer content to be complicit in the silencing of those who have been pushed to the margins for too long.
Every time you have been willing to make yourselves vulnerable in order to grow, you have given me hope that this world can become a place where we no longer feel the need to proclaim that we know it all and we are instead willing to listen to those who know much more than we do in order to reach a better place of understanding.
And every single time you have spoken up in outrage at an injustice that you have allowed yourselves to see in this world, you have given me hope that this world can be a place where we begin to raise our collective voices in order to demand a more just and more equitable way to live.
So as the year draws to a close, please know that I am grateful for how much you have all grown as readers and as writers. That is of the utmost importance to me. But I am far more grateful for all of the hope that you have given me for this world of ours. Because I know that you will be the ones leading our world in the future and you have given me such comfort in knowing that our world is in good hands. And that is of the utmost importance to this world.
And while I am not quite ready to share you with this world, I am so eager for you to get out there and make it a better place. Together we have built a foundation for you to stand on as you continue to reach towards justice and reach towards goodness. Now it is up to you. And I have so much faith in what you all will do with this world. And always know that I will be here waiting and watching you change the world.
With all my love,
Can’t wait to read more of your writing next year. Enjoy your summer!
What a year. They – and you – are transformed. I am so eager to continue learning and growing through your bravery.
Thank you for giving them opportunities to learn how to “stop seeing human lives as controversial and start seeing them simply as people.” That’s a brave lesson for your students to learn. I’m grateful you are out there teaching!
Beautiful… just beautiful.