I recently heard an interview with Jackie Hooper, author of The Things You Would Have Said. She also manages a blog (http://wouldhavesaid.com/) where people post letters they never wrote: “Whether the person has passed away, contact was lost, or the strength needed at the time was lacking, this is a chance to say what you have always wanted them to know.” The letters are sometimes sad, sometimes humorous, but always poignant.
Of course I can’t help but hear through my “gifted self-advocacy ears” and as I listened to the interview my mind drifted back to my own school days, my classmates, my classes, my teachers. What could I have said or done that would have made school better for me?
The first thing that came to mind . . .
Dear Mrs. Bryce. About that round-robin reading of Romeo and Juliet we’re doing in English class . . . I love the play, but the slow, slow pace is driving me crazy. Could I do an independent project instead?
And then I thought . . .
Dear Mr. White. I really don’t get this sine/cosine/tangent stuff but I’m afraid to ask for help. I don’t want you or the other kids to think I’m as dumb as I feel right now.
Of course finding an appropriate academic challenge isn’t a new concern. We all probably struggled with it at one time or another and so did our parents and their parents. But in an age of budget cuts, staff reductions, and gifted program elimination we MUST empower our students with the skills to advocate for themselves.
So now it’s your turn. What do you wish you’d said to an educator? Revealing our own academic frustrations may give our students ideas on how to improve their own lives.
Post your own “note to my teacher” in the comments below or on my WATG president's blog here.
Trust me. Getting it off your chest feels pretty good!