To say it was a quiet week would be an understatement. I was out Monday with my son who had a horrible case of strep throat. When I was out, you all read an article about how JK Rowling experienced failure, bounced back from it, and went on to write the world-famous, Harry Potter series. Working hard and never settling for less than your best was something we ended up talking about throughout the rest of the week in our extension of bell work with the poem "Pretty Good." Wednesday, I read you guys an excerpt from a book I have been reading. The passage was about Will Smith's incredible work ethic and his ability to rise above the status quo and defy the odds. Little did I know, those would be the last words I would be able to speak to you guys for the week. Thursday and Friday I completely lost my voice. Catching what my son had on Monday was inevitable, but oddly, I felt fine. I simply could not talk.
In fifteen years of teaching, I cannot recall this ever happening to me. Not gonna lie. Teaching without a voice is no easy feat. How can an athlete play with a broken leg, an artist paint with an injured hand, or a dancer dance with an arm in a cast? As Harper Lee (my favorite author) once said, "Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved it." It is true. I have never wanted to talk more (and couldn't) than I did this week. Not having a voice makes you literally (and because I am an English teacher-figuratively) feel weak and powerless. I don't ever want you all to feel this way, and because of that, I will do my best to teach you to be effective communicators, both in speech and composition.
Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately for you students, my voice has returned over the weekend. I am excited about tomorrow and finally being able to teach you all about story elements and narrative writing. Ironically, on Friday you all practiced a lesson on voice while your teacher stood mute. I wanted to share so much more than I was able to do so, but in not sharing, I was able to learn something I probably never would have heard if I had been doing all the talking. I learned to listen. I hope it doesn't take another episode with strep throat for me to learn to be a better listener because if I am not listening, then what do I possibly have to teach?
Thank you all for your patience and understanding with me this week. A colleague suggested I not tell you guys why I switched my lesson plans to independent work because, as freshmen, you all might take advantage of the situation. Against her advice, I told you all anyway. It was pretty hard to hide, but even if I could have hidden it, I wouldn't have. Your kindness and compassion, as well as your understanding towards me, was truly humbling. I do not see you all as freshmen or good students or bad students or anything, except the good people you are.
I am truly convinced the guidance department went down the rosters and gave me only the very best people in the bunch. Thank you all for being mature and compassionate and still working hard when you could have slid by on so much less. As I told you this week (before I lost my voice), the only two things that truly impress me in this world are things anyone can give: effort and kindness. You all exhibited both. I am impressed and beyond proud to be your teacher this week and every week.
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