01 October 2010

Motivational Friday: Extrinsic Support

I took this picture last year when I went to Ithaca, NY. I found the greenery and peacefulness of nature quite motivating. However, here I am one year later and I've lost my muse. I tried reading previous "Motivational Friday" posts and not for lacking of trying, didn't feel motivated. I have gone through almost every bit of advice one by one and still have not had the inspiration to write a single word this week on any of my WiPs.
I then looked through some old paperwork that needed to be filed and guess what I discovered . . . wait for it . . . awards, letters and commencement programs from students past. I am retyping these letters, but have kept the original voice of the students and spelling.

Dear Ms. Perez,

I a
m writing this letter to let you know how much I truly appreciate having you as my teacher and how I would like to thank you for being hard on me even though sometimes It felt like you were against me. I know you did it because you wanted to see me succeed in the future. I am also thankful for you as a person and a teacher. I believe if anyone I should pick for appreciation teachers day if should be you. Thank you for everything and continue the good work in helping people just like myself.



This was from a student who lived with extended family. Her mother and father were never really involved in her life and she really didn't have much guidance nor a role model. She transferred from Chelsea High School and moved out of state. When she left, she was three months pregnant and made me the promise that she would graduate from high school. I never saw or heard from her again. But I trust that with all the baggage she carried, she persevered because of her strong spirit and character.

The next letter (rough draft and final draft) is from a student who had very low reading, writing and math skills. She also came from a broken home with very little familial support. This letter was written when I was still completing my undergraduate degree. I was an educational assistant, not yet a licensed teacher. She eventually graduated and went to the City University of New York.

(Rough Draft)
Dear Ms. Perez,

I would like to thank you for being so . . . fun! You are the coolest assistant teacher in this school. You like just like one of us in the hood and that's what's up! You should really be appreciated because you would soon be a teacher of your own and I hope you stay cool and continue relating to us kids.

Thank you,


P.S. Good luck!

(Final Draft)
Dear Ms. Perez,

I would like to thank you for being so fun. It's not the same in Ms. T's class without you cracking up when Ms. T. goes off or disses _____. I think you should really be appreciated because soon you would become a Teacher and I hope you stay as cool as you are and to never become cranky like Mr. C. Thanks for everything you did for me. And yes, I did my homework.

Good luck,

I then looked at all of my inclusion students who are now effective members of society with jobs and families of their own. With tears in my eyes, I thought, look at these kids who are now adults. They had it really bad while in high school and despite their disabilities, still they succeeded. Many went on to college and earned diplomas. This is what it's about . . . perseverance, purpose. These mementos and keepsakes were inspiration enough.

First Image: Ithaca Falls Lazy River, self

Second Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WSTM_Three_Blind_Mice_0063.JPG, WTMUploader.

Third Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CCNY_141-Convent_gate_jeh.JPG, Jim.Henderson.


The Burrow said...

Chary, this certainly is the most motivational post that I have ever read. What a feeling it must be. I have been graced with a share of praise as a teaching person, but this here is quite another league.

ViolaNut said...

When the kids call you cool, you know you're doing something right. :-) And you know... I keep all my notes too.

Hart Johnson said...

Chary-if I had that kind of feedback, I would find it totally motivational too--I get SOME appreciation from younger writers, but the stuff you're talking about, it very special indeed. run with it!

Cruella Collett said...

You're awesome. Absolutely awesome. Touching people's lives like that? It's a gift, Chary. We couldn't all do it (I know I couldn't), and you're not only doing it, but you are being appreciated for it. I agree - that is motivation times a million :)

Shaharizan Perez said...

Thanks Tina,

Sometimes I cry in amazement that I have actually touched someone's life. Often we think that we can't make a difference but that's not the case. Even something so small as a nice compliment or pat on the back, goes a long way with many of our kids.

Shaharizan Perez said...

I thought it was just me that kept every little note from their students. :D

My husband thinks I'm nuts for keeping an entire file. He keeps saying to scan them and then discard them. I just can't, they mean too much.

Shaharizan Perez said...

Thanks Tami. I will!

Shaharizan Perez said...

Thanks Mari *blushes*

I had never thought of the notes as motivational until I started cleaning out my file cabinet. Of course, I cried like a little girl as I read them. I miss my students who graduate and it is wonderful when they return and let me know where they currently are today.