As our year winds down and 5th graders get ready to transition to our middle school next year, it felt right to send them off with a poem. It focuses mostly on the fact that most middle schoolers I see, and even high schoolers, ‘forget’ to say hi as we walk by them. If I decide to say anything, it is often met with a look of total embarrassment. I thought I’d give it a shot and lend some advice before they go off to middle school.
Dear Almost 6th Grader,
Who is ready to move on to bigger things
ready for the next step of your learning journey,
ready for a new adventure,
and maybe a little anxious.
this next step is inevitable
makes it a little easier to take.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Thank you for teaching us how to be better teachers.
Thank you for being kind,
thank you for asking for help,
thank you for making mistakes and
thank you for learning from them.
Of all the things to remember, those are the most important.
when almost 6th graders become real 6th graders,
then real 7th graders, real 8th graders and beyond.
They forget things. Like all of us
They forget to be kind, or to ask for help.
They do not forget to make mistakes,
but sometimes they forget mistakes are valuable
and they forget to learn from them.
They also forget many of their teachers.
You may not like this,
but we will remember you,
we will remember so many moments,
the good, the bad, and the ugly moments.
We know you and we knew you,
We knew the potty training in diapers you…
we knew the pulling your friends in a wagon around the playground race track you
we knew the making mud pie in the mud kitchen you…
we knew the you who yelled “He hurt my life” after a friend pushed you in line…
we knew you when you told your class you decided to change your name to sound more grown up…
we knew you when you yelled “I’m coming” to your best friend across the room when they spilled the entire lego bin…
we knew you when you told your best friend, I don’t think we should be best friends any more through tears and disappointment…
we knew you when you said your first curse word in school and your father came to pick you up at lunch and he said, “We’ll be back after recess”…
we knew you when you got 22 out of 23 on that math test, and I gave you a high-five because you struggled so hard and deserved so much more than a high five, but it’s all I could think of because I was sort of, kind of, holding back tears of joy…
We knew you and we know you.
We want to know you more, about where you’re going and where you’ve been.
We will remember you, in all your cuteness and all your flaws.
We hope you remember us, too, even though
we know you’ll forget a lot of what happened here.
So when you see us in the hallway, or on the field, or in the grocery store,
Say, “Hi, Teacher I sort of remember.”
Let us know how things are going.
Answer a question or two when we ask…
We promise not to ask too many.
Don’t get too embarrassed when we say, “I knew you when…”
We promise not to say too much.
So next time you see us,
when you think you’re an almost grown up,
when you’re six inches, or two feet taller, or you look down at us,
when you’ve forgotten most of your time here,
remember us, remember…
to be kind
to ask for help
that mistakes are okay
and that you can learn from them,
because even if you don’t say hi,
we will remember you.