What My Students Wish I Knew About Them

sol#SOL Day 14

If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces,  I think we would treat each other much more gently, and with more love, patience, tolerance, and care. ~Marvin J. Ashton

A couple of months ago, I was at PAWLP’s Children’s Book Writing group.  As a writing warm-up we were asked to write a letter to ourselves as one of the characters we were developing in our story.  Mine was minimal because I have mostly been working on children’s poetry, but it got me thinking about my 7th grade students and what they might want me to know about their lives. These aren’t from one particular student, but a compilation of what letters might have looked like over the years.

Dear Mrs. DiCarne,

I wish you knew what I was like when I am alone.  I am funny. I have a great sense of humor, but I know it is difficult for you to see that each day at school. At school I am so awkward. I don’t know what to say or how to act. My social skills are lacking, but when I am alone I am not so awkward – at least not in my world. In my world, my parents understand my quirks; they don’t stare at me like I have three heads.  In my world, I am not afraid to pretend, to challenge, to voice my opinion. I am not afraid to say what I like – to be me.

When I am alone, I feel more protected – not afraid of what others may think or that I may say the wrong thing. That’s why I prefer to work alone at school.  Then I don’t have to be afraid.


Your extremely quiet student


Dear Mrs. DiCarne,

I wish you knew that I really do try to use my “inside voice” at school, but it is hard.  You see, I am the youngest of five, and at home I really have to assert myself to be heard.  Not only are there a lot of us talking at once, my siblings are always dismissing my ideas because I am “the baby.”  I hate that.

Since I am not “the baby” here at school, I want to be sure I am heard.  I know that sometimes that comes off as being pushy or bossy. I really don’t mean to sound that way; I just don’t know how else to be.


Your big mouth maven


Dear Mrs. DiCarne

I know you said my job was not to entertain the class, but I am good at it. It makes me feel good when my classmates laugh and think I am funny.  Why? You’ve seen my report card. I am not that good at anything else. I don’t want my friends to know how much I don’t know, so I use my humor as a deflection.  

I am never going to be on the honor roll or have my name called out for an award. If I promise to tone it down a little, could you let me keep on being funny?


The class clown


Have you ever wondered what your students wish you knew about them?  I probably could write at least 10 more letters if I opened my eyes, and ears, and heart and truly listened to everything they are NOT saying.

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