About 10 years ago, I had a student to come to a school dance where I was working the front door. We greeted one anther with the usual pleasantries, then he went on to tell me that because of me, he was making A’s in English, and he just wanted to say, “Thank you.” I was pleased to hear it. No one had ever came back to say, “Thank you, Ms. McCraw.” Needless to say, he got in the dance for free that day.
As you know I teach 6-8 grade English in a Catholic school in Spring, Tx (a suburb outside of Houston, Tx). This year I’ve had a record number of former students (9th graders) come back to say, “Thank you, Mrs. McCraw. It’s because of what you taught me in English that I am sailing through the 9th grade.”
A few weeks ago, we had Meet the Teacher night. We have several students who just graduated but have younger siblings at the school, so when their parents came to Meet the Teacher night, our former students came to. They had on their new school uniforms, and they looked so nice! I was only used to seeing them in our school uniform, so they looked so different to me in something other than blue and khaki.
They were all so excited, which made me excited. They went on about how they miss the school and the teachers and how everything they are doing in 9th grade English, they’ve already done in 8th grade English. A few of them said that they are the only ones in their class who know how to diagram sentences. Some said that when the teacher asked them to list as many prepositions as they could, they started singing the preposition song and was able to list them all. (Don’t thank me for that one, thank YouTube.) A few even said that they’ve already had to turn in an essay where they passed with flying colors. I got “thank yous” all night from former students and their parents. I’m not sure what they expected from 9th grade, I mean grammar is grammar, right? Diagramming is diagramming. Book reports are book reports. Maybe. Maybe not.
Each teacher is of course different, and each teacher brings to the classroom a certain “swag” if you will. I teach grammar. Everyday, I. Teach. Grammar. In Room 30, we write sentences, we diagram sentences. We study punctuation and types of sentences. We write book reports, we write essays. Everyday we practice our skills.
I am very proud of my students (former and current). I was glad to hear that they were confident in their new class and well prepared. To my former students, “You’re welcome!”
It may be another 10 years before someone else says, “Thank you, Ms. McCraw.” I’ll wait.