Eyre Affairs

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Location: New York, United States

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"When I read her letter to him..." ~ Jane Eyre

My first two days back at work has been exhausting. Though I am truly liking my classes so far and I am enjoying my day, I still wonder if this is my final go-round as a teacher. Its my seventh year, and I have the seven year itch to "move into the big house" as my friend Boz puts it!

At the beginning of each year I tell my students that I cannot be their best advocate if I do not know them. I ask them to write letters of introduction to me so that I can know who they are. Its not busywork on my part; I read each and every letter and write back. I have 110 students this year. So far I have a good sense from most of them, and I am already loving my entire 11th grade honors class. If this does end up being my last year, I am determined to make it the best.

I am sharing a few fun excerpts from their letters to me...enjoy!

"I am also a Yankees fan and enjoy going to games if its not too hot out!"

"The Yankees are horrible."

"I visit the elderly with a club because I know if I was old I would want to have company."

"I am a vegetarian, not really for dietary reasons as much as because I am an animal rights activist and I don't agree with the cruel conditions in factory farms."

"I will frolic merrily while savoring a joyous tourney of basketball or soccer."

"My brother just left for college and I miss him...mainly because I don't have rides anywhere."

"I don't like animals or the word moist."

"P.S. I am great"

"When Johnny Damon hit the grand slam in the ALCS I was so frustrated that I punched two holes in my wall, and later experienced even more aggravation from my mother..."

"My dislikes are homework."

"Lastly, I would like to say that I am stubborn and a hard worker."

"I like to sing even though I am a bad singer."

"I like cookies."

"Our family history can be dated back to to the first people who came over on the Mayflower and that makes me a daughter of the Revolution!"

"I want close to 30 snakes (love 'em)."

"If you can read my handwriting, more power to you."

"I am in love with this rapper, T.I., so hopefully in ten years I will be married to him."

"In ten years I will hopefully still be having a good time without a husband or kids yet."

"I have the disadvantage of being the middle child."

"My hobbies include shopping..."

"I have one hobby and that is that I love to cook."

"First off I would like to make it clear that I am not anything like my brother..."

"I'm 16 years old but I wish I was older."

"Thank you for taking your time to read about me."


Blogger work in progress said...

Wow, that's an ambitious task you've undertaken. I certainly see the merit in such an assignment, I figure at the very least it must make for interesting reading. What a great way to get to know your students, good idea!

Thanks for sharing those excerpts, they were entertaining.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Eunuch said...

"The Yankees are horrible."

Yes, my kind of Yankees fan! GO CARDS! (even if we're not rivals!)

7:29 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

"p.s. I am great."


8:32 PM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Some of those are wonderful; I really like: "I don't like the word moist" and "First of all, I would like to say that I am nothing like my brother."

What a great idea. I had a teacher who made us do a similar thing, only this was 7th grade advanced English. We had to keep a journal..I used to write,'I don't need to tell you about me in this journal. You are my teacher and I think this is stupid". It's a wonder I graduated! haha.

You sound like the most wonderful teacher...

10:20 PM  
Blogger PeeJ said...

These are superb...!

They remind me of "conversations overheard on the tube" - A blog entry I made a while back about overheard snippets of conversation on the London Underground - quite frankly the most bizarre slices of human interaction you could hear anywhere...

Great stuff!


PS - I am absolutely NOTHING like my brother!

4:09 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

WIP ~ I actually plan on heading to the beach tomorrow morning and will finish writing back to them there! I did one class already; whew!

Eunuch ~ Its a good thing the Cards and Yanks aren't rivals, indeed!

Marty ~ Heehee. Another P.S. was "I have a great personality!"

Ryane ~ So you were a lil' punk, eh? Love it! :)

Peej ~ Send me that tube link! We have a similar one here in New York; I will find the link and send it to you! Wonky Times rocks my world, Peej.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

Amy, well--not exactly a punk...I was much to much of a nerd to be a punk. But I was, at times, a smart ass...ESP. in the 7th grade!! hahahaha.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Oh, I love that idea! And I love the pieces you quoted from them. I sometimes fiddle with the idea of becoming a teacher, but I mostly feel that I wouldn't do well in a situation where a bunch of high schoolers were judging me. I didn't have a good time in high school because I wasn't "popular," so that's what gives me pause.

But reading those notes from your students really humanizes them in a way that I had not considered before.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

OMG! Each one of those is HILARIOUS!

Thanks for sharing.

My favorite is:
"I don't like animals or the word moist."

I am still Auto, but now I call myself Connie.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Clearlykels said...

Ok, I love the kid that said they are nothing like their brother. That is just wonderful. It reminds me of how my sister had to go away to college before people would stop calling her by her nickname. Everyone always knew her as Mandy, now she is Amanda to most.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Neil said...

That's a great idea to have them write these letters. You sound like a terrific teacher.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morgen said...

"I like visiting the elderly with a club"
Ha! I had to read that twice to make sure there was no geriatric beatings going on!!!

love this post!

2:12 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Ryane ~ Smart ass? Even better! I was to a degree, too, but more of a subversive smart ass!

Ariella ~ Its amazing, but once you get past the nervousness of having them judge you, you realize that they are more vulnerable than you are. I have known very few secure kids...I guess it is part of being a teenager. They are too human, and sometimes its hard to separate work from emotions in this gig.

Connie ~ Hi Auto. :) I wrote back that I hate the word hair-do.

Kels ~ I bet you hear yous sis referred to as Amanda and are like, who IS that? ;)

Neil ~ Thank you for your kind compliment about my teaching.

Morgen ~ HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I know, right? The rest of what she said broke my heart. She said both her grandfathers died recently and she misses them, and being there makes her feel closer. I read it and sobbed; I miss my grandpas so very much.

2:49 PM  
Blogger schaumi said...

Those are wonderful snippets of mini information into each students psyche.

I'm still tired after a month of teaching. It's an exhausting profession.

I am also deciding if this will be my last year teaching in the shool system.

I see probably over 700 students a week in 3 different schools.

I receive thank you notes at the end of the school year. Some 5th grade teachers do this with their students. My favorite one was:

Mrs. S. thank you for keeping our room so neat and clean this year. You are a great custodian....
(I teach art :-) ).

6:20 AM  
Blogger afromabq said...

i want to read the whole letter of the person who wrote "i don't like animals or the word moist." that person has got to be a hoot. i think this idea of getting to know your students is so heartfelt...so typical thursday!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

Where was I? look at all I missed!!! Thanks for the peek.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Lynn said...

What a GREAT exercise. This is what all kids need. All people, really. We all want to be listened to and given the opportunity to explain ourselves. Any blogger knows that, right? This was a really fun read and kind of heartbreaking at the same time...I don't know why. Perhaps it made me think of what I would write at that age. They are so lucky to have you.

12:35 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Schaumi ~ You are certainly on my mind this week! I slept in this morning...no choice since my average this past week was 5hrs/night! 700 in a week? The thought makes me so tired that I want to go back to bed! Oh that letter is just hilarious!

PToes ~ She is a pip already, let me tell you! One of my honor students. Thank you for your kind words. :)

Barry ~ Hallo there! I loved all your photos from Jordan. How are you doing? I have missed you!

Lynn ~ Thank you for your kind words. Indeed, I highlighted some of the more funny aspects, but there are also sad ones. Its hard because after having Jack as my nephew, I feel more and more emotional about these kids; they are still someone's baby and they are now mine to a degree.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Truthfully, I would never want to be 16 again, but I wish my body was. I was hot and didn't know it. Such a waste!

I always suspected that the teachers liked to have us keep journals so they could spot child abuse and report it, though they completely missed it in mine!

10:38 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

Mom of Three ~ Believe me, these letters help me be well aware of all that goes on at home. While that is not my first intent, because I truly want to know the child as a person, believe me I have been taking notes on which kids to look out for. One of them lives in a group home, the poor thing. I am sorry that your experience at home was not recognized and I applaud you for your courage.

10:48 PM  
Blogger David said...

I've said it before and I can't overstate it... you sound like an amazing teacher. If I was a parent in your school district, I'd pay extra on my taxes. ;)

(Or just send you Starbucks gift cards.)

7:43 AM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

I would hope you would take me out to Starbucks, David. ;) Hope you and C don't have too much homework this weekend! xoxo

7:46 AM  
Blogger question girl said...

"If you can read my handwriting, more power to you."

"I am in love with this rapper, T.I., so hopefully in ten years I will be married to him."


most of my kids would right the second in unreadable handwriting!!!!


6:47 PM  
Blogger ThursdayNext said...

QG ~ HAHAHAHHA! I love how yours could combine the two! ;) Hope you have a good week this week; hang in there!

6:53 PM  
Blogger PeeJ said...


As requested...
Scenes from a Tube Train


4:46 AM  
Blogger Mayden's Voyage said...

I loved this...reading what some of the kids said-
On my kids first day of kindergarten, I wrote a love letter about them- to their teacher. (so silly, I know, I know) But it made such a difference.
My son's teacher cried...and told me that in the 20 years of teaching, she had never gotten a letter like that one.
She was prepared 2 years later when she got my Juli! :)
Both of my kids are avid writers and would gladly write a letter to their teachers-
Well done Amy- you are a teacher a Mom loves! :)

10:38 PM  

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