Journals, May 11, 2017 Daily Reflection

A Favorite Alum who loves her journal!

At the end of each school year since my first year of teaching I have bought my seniors journals, like a graduation gift. I write a few pages in each one about what I see in the student. In hopes that they will use the journal in the future but more so to have something to look back at from Holy Cross and to know that they were loved. Some students I know better than others, I write more in their journals. Other students, even those I have issues with, I still buy a journal and try to find something nice to say about them. This year I had to ask for a donation from my Dad to purchase the journals. He was generous and donated $150 and I bought the journals. It took me at least 12 hours to write all of them. Yesterday, I gave out the first half of the journals and some students were very thankful, others could care less about the gesture. It was a bit discouraging. However, today I will be giving the 2nd class of seniors their journals.

Last night feeling quite discouraged by the reaction of the seniors I decided to reach out to the alums who received the journals over the past 3 years. Of course these were students who liked me, otherwise we would not be friends on Face Book. 98% said to keep writing the journals because they treasure the journal and what I wrote to them. 5% use the journals to write in and about 85% of them reread the journal often, knowing it will make them smile. One student commented that she threw hers in the trash can as she left the room. She felt that I put her down and talked about how she could become a better person. I told her I was sorry she felt that way and that was not the point of it. She never liked me.

As a teacher who truly cares for her students I want my students to know that. It is an exercise of loving another person when you don’t like them much but you try to find the good and take the time to write to them. All teachers are planting the seeds, sometimes the plants grow and other times they die. But like one of my alums said it is worth it for the few that will treasure that gift. At this age they are not mature enough to understand the gift and they are ready to graduate and just leave. Hopefully, someday they will look back and realize how much someone cared for them. As a person it is an exercise of learning how to give without expecting anything in return, because that is selfless giving.

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