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Letter to a pre-service teacher

Dear Pre-service Teacher,

I’ve written this three times, already. Each time it hasn’t come out right. I’ve over complicated the message because there’s so much I want to tell you. I’ve gone off on tangents because there’s so much I want you to know. It took a card from a former student to remind me how simple the message is…

Make a difference.

We only get a finite number of role-models in our lives. You’re going to be a role-model for many. Value that responsibility. Be honest, have the hard conversations, lift people up, then challenge them, and keep challenging yourself. What students see in you is what they’ll take with them when they leave.

Don’t kid yourself though, and think that you can make a difference for every student that comes through your classroom. But, that won’t be for lack of you trying. Even when you think you’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to work – you’ll keep looking for something new. You’ll keep believing that there’s room to grow, that ‘this’ time it’ll do the trick.

And the truth is that you’ll have weeks, terms, even years, that you’ll feel like nothing works. And it will be f#&*ing frustrating. But it won’t matter – because one card, one letter, one email, that reminds you that you made a difference … and it’s all gone away. All the frustration, stress, self-doubt – gone. It is, without question, the most satisfying feeling. I can’t wait to share that with you.

I know you’re reading this and thinking, ‘But I don’t know if I’ll ever make a difference’. You don’t have to worry…

You already do.

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