I had no words today to tell them how much it meant. I cracked a couple of jokes, and even called them cheesy at one point. What I was trying to say to them though, is this:
You all wear capes. Every single one of you is a Super Teacher. You are on a journey for kids and learning and writing, and you put it all out there this Summer. You truly humble me with your hearts and your minds. There is no way to thank you for what you have given me. I am renewed, maybe not refreshed yet since I'm still reeling from the last month, but I can feel it. I'm ready to square my shoulders and try this thing called teaching for another year. Not only am I ready to try it, but I am ready to kick it right square in the behind. Thank you for that. Truly Truly Truly.
My new Caped Friends, you are all Super Heroes...
N.B.--You impressed me the moment you walked up to give the first demo. You nailed it! It was so clear that your understanding of your work, and your willingness to go beyond the curriculum we are given makes a powerful impact on your students each year.
C.B.--Thank you for helping me find the words to talk about our kids. You inspire me to be more and do more for my little Turkey Butts. Your heart and soul are jaw-droppingly golden.
H.C.--Thank you for your perseverance in sending a message of peace and unity. We all need to be reminded of that.
J.C.--Bless your friendly, open smile. You are straight-up, but positive. You are sharp as a whip, and funny to boot. So glad you were in my WRG.
C.C.--You are beautiful inside and out. Your heart and soul are wondrous and you have, without a doubt, changed the hearts and souls of those around you.
R.C.--Your gentle demeanor and underlying red-shoe-wearing-sassy-pants were a joy to get to know. You have so much depth and so much to share. Please keep writing. You touched my funny bone and my soul when you read.
K.D.--Thank you for leading us, listening to us, and sharing with us. I so appreciate your ability to lead while also taking part in such a powerful experience.
C.F.--I love the way your brain works! Your flexibility with your demo made me smile--our students need that flexibility and differentiation. I loved seeing it.
H.F.--Your decision to enter education was courageous and SO the right thing to do. You belong in the classroom, and students are lucky to learn from you. I can't wait to learn from you in our middle school study group!
K.F.--You were energetic and positive EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm in awe of that. Your energy added to the energy of the room each day, and I am quite certain that energy has changed lives in your classroom.
J.J.--Today, when you talked about your family, I felt hope for my students. Thank you for the full-on dedication you show in your teaching and for your family. That is such a gift.
M.J.--You made a joke the other day that your "voice" is the same no matter what you write. That voice is a voice of depth and intelligence. Keep it, nurture it, and share it with your students. I learned from it every single day.
C.K.--Where do you get your energy? I think I should very much like to bottle it up and sell it. You are changing the world. I am so glad to be learning from you.
C.L.--Aw... I loves ya. I do. You are a force of nature, my dear. Keep fighting the good fight. You'll win! And... let those reins loose a bit this year. You'll love it!
S.M.--I thoroughly enjoyed your writer's brain and your flair. I appreciate your honesty and your incredible intelligence. What a gift you have been.
A.M.--I always wanted to hear from you in discussions. Your thoughtful responses struck me each time. I so enjoyed learning from you.
Z.M.--Z! My walking-to-the-car partner. From the first day I knew you were a kindred spirit. I looked forward to checking in with you each day. Sixth grade is lucky to have you. Welcome to the middle school club. :)
A.R.--I think you are simply amazing. I am quite certain your classroom rocks like crazy, and I hope to keep playing Scrabble with you for a good long time. Your love of words makes me happy.
J.R.--There is no way you won't be with students next year. The cosmos won't allow that to happen. I am in awe of your teaching and your heart. Truly in awe. I'm so looking forward to our middle school study group.
D.S.--Keep rockin', baby. Your willingness to share your own journey with us was inspiring. You have impacted my learning and my teaching. So glad to have met you!
This year holds so much promise. I haven't had this feeling in a good long time. Bless each one of you for your cape-wearing. You have changed my life, my teaching, and my heart.
And, in case you were wondering, I did get that nap. Love to you all.