Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Make A Mark and See Where It Takes You–An Open Letter to Student Teachers

on December 18, 2012
Dear Elementary School Student Teachers:
         As I am wrapping up everything for the semester, I just wanted to let you know, that while my heart is so indescribably heavy for all of the families in Newtown; that while I have been truly overwhelmed by the loss, I have thought of each of you this weekend, as well.  I can tell you that I remember certain (unfortunately, several) events that shook me to my core and changed the way I viewed my job as an elementary school educator.  I would venture to say that you have had some of the same thoughts as this kind of horrific and almost unbelievable event hits way too close to home.  Again.
         In a small town. In an Elementary School. In a First Grade Classroom. To 6-and 7-year-olds. And. To their Teachers.
         Please know this.  This isn’t how it is supposed to be.  You shouldn’t have to think about your safety or the safety of your students when entering into a career as an educator.  You just shouldn’t. The reality of Friday’s events changed that forever and first I want to tell you how sorry I am.  I saw that reflected in my own mirror this morning as I prepared to send my 7-year-old out to catch the bus; I saw it in the eyes of my teacher and counselor colleagues in elementary hallways and classrooms today; and certainly in the eyes of other parents.
first grade bus
        But you also need to know this and I want you to really know it–you bring an amazing amount of love and compassion for the students you haven’t even met yet.  You bring a love of learning and expertise on how to engage students in their own pursuits of knowledge. You bring creativity and excitement and energy and enthusiasm.  You will be the ones that make everything ok.  You will be the ones who develop communities in classrooms and teach others how to actively care for each other.  You will be the ones that change all of this for students and young people for many years to come.  
        You are and will be a hero to many students because you will love them first, then teach them what they need to thrive and succeed.
        Remember always what you saw in The Dot. The influence that this teacher had. The power of her words and actions. The way she used humor. The way she made that child feel special. They way she provided so many resources and opportunities to learn and make mistakes and learn again. The way she displayed her work and made her an expert in her own learning. The way she modeled the importance of paying it forward.  You will do that.
(YouTube video of someone reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.  One of my favorite books printed by Candlewick Press/Fablevision. There is a wonderful video available from Scholastic with a version narrated by Thora Birch as well.)
          “Make a mark and see where it takes you.”
the dot poster
(Image from: — I think I’d love this for my new office!)
           Please let me know if you need anything.
           Enjoy a restful holiday break and work on your #26ActsofKindness in honor of those young lives.
  Let’s All Go, Do That.

3 responses to “Make A Mark and See Where It Takes You–An Open Letter to Student Teachers

  1. Inspire as a hero yourself, you surely do!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Awwww…thanks for that. I have always used the terms “in the trenches” and heroes when I was talking about teachers in classrooms. ..tragically, the terms took on new meaning last week.

  2. […] And a few years later, a story about Sandy Hook Elementary. […]

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