Dear Ms. _______,
I would first like to thank you for your kind and welcoming spirit. You were so generous to welcome me upon arriving at C___High School. I felt known and wanted there from the very beginning.
My time at C____High School encompassed a great many experiences for which I am overwhelmingly grateful. This is almost in it’s entirety due to the students at this school. They are vibrant, strong, beautiful people that greet you with honesty and candor.
C____High School fulfilled a lot of ideas that I had about Chicago Public Schools, and I mean this in the best of ways. Their vibrancy was in my mind a reason for putting up a strong front, for keeping myself at some kind of distance, for remaining removed from their lives so that I could protect myself. These ideas came from a number of places outside of myself. In my limited research on the school, I was made aware of many of the challenges at C____High School and how administration and the community was working so diligently to combat longstanding issues.
When I began teaching several weeks ago, these challenges were right before my eyes and heavy on my heart after the first few hours of instruction. I felt simultaneously thrilled to be with these students and completely ill-equipped to teach them anything. Their innate ability to see through “fluff” and desire to find meaning was so apparent: I had to take a deep breath, examine what it truly was that I wanted them to get out of this experience, and what I wanted for myself.
The conclusion was that I had been very selfish. I wanted desperately to really know these students, to share knowledge reciprocally, to make compelling artwork, and to leave with wonderful memories of growth and change and a feeling of all of us having overcome some kind of adversity. It wasn’t that this didn’t happen or that this was too much to expect: it was that I had expected all of this to look a particular way. The students did make beautiful work: at their own pace and using their own ideas. I did get to know them: day by day and when they wanted me to. I did leave with memories of growth and change: I learned a great deal about myself, about my blindspots and shortcomings and even some strengths. We did overcome adversity: we all got to know each other in spite of how different we are and how our outside lives sometimes work against us caring about one another.
I want to thank C___High School for giving me a place to learn. My cooperating teacher has imparted me with so much wisdom; I could never thank her enough for all of the support, knowledge, and kindness she bestowed upon our students and myself. Her experience and fervor for her work has made me a better educator and a better person than I was before. She asks for so little and deserves a great deal of support and appreciation. I would work with her any time, any place and under any circumstance.
To the staff and students at C____High School: thank you for your generosity, honesty, ideas, and trust. Thank you for letting me a part of your community for even this short time. I wish all of you so much happiness, strength and success in the future.