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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Early Intervention

A colleague & friend is feeling...a little blah about her future. Her future is my most recent past. The litter I've just given birth to have suckled & are ready to move on to a new home. Like any good breeder, I have to give them up for others to love & shape. Wait, did I just liken myself to a "bitch?" Something about that sounds wrong but I know exactly what I mean, hope you do too. So, I'll be littering these pages with the occasional student sharing in the attempt to engage in some meaningful reflection as well as to encourage my friend & colleague. I hope all of you, not just Chaotically Calm, can feel me on this every now & again without running away.

So, my 1st night in Venezuela I received an email from a student from the MOST challenging class. She'd not gotten her Exit Essay in before the end of my final school day (they had 1 more to go). Resourceful student that she is, she pulled my personal email from my teacher Facebook page & emailed her essay in the 11th hour. Along with it she included this note:

Dear Ms. Sunshyne,

I wanted to apologize for the difficulty of teaching our class this whole year... It must have been so hard to deal with the constant stress that was put on you because of us. I think you are the one who has been the most patient this year, you never gave up and you kept continuing to try to teach us, even if sometimes it seemed as though you were talking with no one listening. I wish it could have been easier this whole year and i'm sorry you had to deal with it. You're an awesome teacher and an awesome person. I had lots of fun in your class and i appreciate your dedication to teaching us. You really know how to make learning fun! Thank you so much for being one of the coolest, most dedicated, and fun loving teachers I have ever had. I hope next year, you don't have to go through the same experience again. Have a great summer!


I lay in my mildewy hotel room feeling full & too far away from anyone who could help me work through the emotions of it all. My roommate was a young woman in awe of the concept of teaching, & it would seem appropriate to share the note with her as a glimpse into the very thing that would get her through the second guessing. Still, I wanted to share the moment with someone who knew THESE children & could relate to the victory that it was that 1 of them was reflective at all & courageous enough to share her conclusion. I forwarded the email to B.B. who essentially said that it served as proof of what he, & others, have told me all along: that I AM effective & the children recognize it even when they don't behave as though any adult can permeate the concrete fortresses they've built around themselves. I waste too much time not remembering...

So, DML, I hope that this note serves as a pre-apology, a down-payment on the apologies you'll be owed (& hopefully will receive) by the time they're done showing their collective asses in the efforts to prove they're the baddest.

They know when you care about them & they know, often, that they go out of their way not to be lovable people. It's often because they don't have any examples of any. Love them in spite of themselves. You'll be glad you did. & even if they can't articulate it at the time, they'll thank you for it too.

I'll help you move.


  1. you're one of those teachers, eh? thank God for y'all.