Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Ego Book

I went back to school today to start getting my classroom ready. Not all of my colleagues came today, and the ones who did came in several hours after I did, so I had a few hours of total solitude to begin unpacking.

Towards the end of the year, I took a number of letters, cards, pictures, and the like given to my by students over the past few years and asked one of our school aides to laminate them for me. (The poor woman was laminating everything in my room that wasn't nailed down anyway.) I never cut apart the laminating film or anything after she gave them back to me, just rolled them up and put them in my closet, because I was running out of June by then.

Today, I cut them all apart and put them in a nice pile, and reread them. One of my favorites was from a student of mine from two years ago whom I'll call Jasmine. I would never have forgotten this letter from Jasmine even if I hadn't had it laminated. The letter goes something like this (paraphrasing):

Dear Miss Eyre:

Do you remember that day that Mrs. Brocklehurst yelled at me and made me cry because I forgot my notebook? I was so upset that I came and ate lunch in your room. You said I should tell the nurse I was sick and I should go home. I went home and I felt better later that day. Thank you for caring about me.


I don't know if I should feel particularly proud that this student remembers me so fondly for encouraging her to fib to the school nurse, but this letter always makes me smile.

Anyway, I have this collection of lovely notes from former students, and I'd like to put them together in a binder or a photo album. I hope it doesn't smack too much of an "ego book" type thing.

I also had fun decorating my room today with a few mementoes from last year's students, silly little things mostly, the kinds of things they probably expected me to throw out--art projects they gave me, paper flowers, snapshots from field trips. I've tried to save a few things from each school year. Last year's objets d'arts in particular bring back beautifully sweet memories.

It was a nice way to start preparations for the new year.