Letters of March

It’s funny to think that back in January I wasn’t sure who I would be writing letters to all year, and now it’s snowballed to the point that I can’t seem to write enough. By writing letters to some of my former students, it’s opened a floodgate of letters written back.

In February, I posted about writing a letter to a former student who is currently in jail, and this month I received a long letter back. The teacher in me was immediately impressed how much his handwriting, spelling, and conventions had improved. The human in me couldn’t believe how heartfelt and wise his message to me was. It might be the nicest letter I’ve ever received in my life, and it was funny, too!

He mentioned he had just finished a book, so I went out and purchased a couple new ones and mailed them back, and at this point, I’m pretty certain I’ll hear from him again.

I also wrote two new letters to other former students who are getting ready to go to high school.

The fourth letter sucked. One of my students from last year was an incredibly talented boy from Colombia who had moved to Portland to learn English while living with his aunt. For anyone who knows about language acquisition, it was astounding that he entered at a Level 1 (basically zero English) and by May we had literally exited him from language services as a Level 5 (basically proficient). I didn’t even know that was possible. Two weeks ago, he and his mother were killed in a car accident back in Colombia. Thus I sent a letter to his father and aunt in Colombia. I had my students each make an Identity Book (inspired by a friend who posted her 7th grade version on Facebook). My plan is to somehow return the books to them when they graduate high school (yeah – we’ll see how that goes…). Since I still had his Identity Book, I made sure to include it to his family.

So there it is – letters of March.

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