As the summer begins to dwindle I am approaching my third year as an educator. Just yesterday I was being introduced to the Pride of 2021 and now my babies are going to high school. Transitioning from enrolling individuals into affordable health care to being responsible for the minds of 105 impressionable teenagers was no where near Easy Street but I stuck it out. I fought for my students. Loved my students and disciplined my students in the ways a mother would discipline her own.
I would be lying if I said everyday was a dream working with 105 little people going through puberty, break ups and trying to figure out exactly who they are. Those kids stressed me out beyond words and there were days I walked slam out of the classroom to look in the mirror and ask myself, “What in the hell were you thinking girl?!” But those moments never last long when you realize you are part of a greater mission; creating positive, affirmative, fearless revolutionaries.
On the last day of school I wrote 2021 an open letter read to them by their 8th grade teachers, of course I couldn’t do it myself I was too much of an emotional wreck having to say goodbye to individuals that helped mold me into the educator I have grown to be. I’m sharing my letter in hopes that they’ll come across this on a day they have forgotten how much they are loved and will remember, I am here to and through.
“Today is your last day of middle school and I have probably cried a thousand times throughout the week because my babies are leaving the nest. Before you continue on your journey to and through college there are a few things I wanted you to know.
First off I apologize. I apologize for not being confident in myself and my ability to guide you. Y’all came into my life at a time where I was unsure of myself, confused and broken. I felt incapable of being of use to any of you. I had these big ideas about how I wanted to lead you to greatness but had no idea of how much work it would actually take. There were times when both the nights and days were long and I had no idea of what I was doing. Because of my ignorance as a teacher I chose to love and lead you in the best way that I could. As my own.
If you ain’t know, it takes a lot of energy, patience and dedication to love over 100 children. I loved you on your best days, worst days, when you were trifling and even when you had me fling a chair across the room. And although learning to love you all as my own was exhausting I received some of the greatest gifts. Love, support and dedication from you.
From ’21 I learned what it means to have grit. To give 100% even when it feels like you have nothing left to give because you have a team of people who need your guidance. I must thank you all because you have made me who I am, an educator.
There were so many things I got wrong with you all. So many times I yelled when I should’ve given hugs and times when I gave up on you because you gave up on yourselves.
But I have seen so much growth and maturity in each of you that I am beyond proud of.
As you continue on in life always know that you have a friend in me. Know that you are capable of greatness. Know that you are full of #blackandbrowngirlmagic and #blackandbrownboybrillance. Understand that you will succeed whether you stay here, go to another school, or even venture off to another state (Ella Ella Ella).
This world is full of injustices and hopefully I have provided you with the tools of radical change and advocacy. I’m needing to end this letter because I am getting emotional so ’21 even if you forget everything you learned in your middle school career please never forget that I love you and will always be eternally grateful for meeting your wonderfully ratchet selves.”