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My students have made digital portfolios for this week’s parent-student-teacher conferences. The work of the last many days has been to make sure that students are prepared for their presentations. As you can imagine, it’s been a whirlwind of activity getting ready!

One of the slides is a reflection about life in our classroom, and uses the following prompts:

  • Something interesting that happened in our class is…
  • A fun event in 3E was…
  • 3E is unique because…
  • What I will always remember about 3E is…

Reading what each student writes in answer to these prompts is a delight. The students remind me of things I’d forgotten, and they show the “branding” of our room with statements like: 3E is unique because of all the smiley faces, and 3E is unique because we all love books. You can’t help but smile when reading these reflections. Each portfolio is special and reflects the student.

While reading with one of my students today, we got to the “Life in 3E” slide, and there was this statement:

“What I will always remember about 3E is my amazing teacher.” Awwww! Cute, right? Of course, I can’t help but love moments like that, however, it doesn’t surprise me. It’s fairly typical for students to include me somewhere on this page of class reminiscing. I don’t take it for granted. I’m always touched by it, regardless of how typical.

That said, there was a stop-me-in-my-tracks moment to this particular portfolio, because right beside the sentence was a little picture. When I say little, you can interpret that as, my old eyes couldn’t read it without getting closer to the screen. So I smiled at the child, who was smiling at me, and then I leaned close to the screen saying, “What’s this?” Next to the already lovely note about remembering me was a colorful quote that this student had found to accompany her writing. It said: “They may forget what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel.”

That was when I found myself a little speechless. “Oh!” I whisper exclaimed. “That is just beautiful.” She smiled more broadly, and I smiled my warmest smile back. The whole moment was surely less than a minute, but it was a minute that filled my day.

These are words I live by. I come to school every day knowing that I control the weather, and I get to choose whether we will have a stormy or sunny day. Our room is covered in smiley faces, and I make a vow never to yell, no matter how frustrated I might feel. However, most of what my students feel and think about me and my actions will never be explicitly shared, so I am grateful for the feedback of one third grader today, who let me know that my mission to treat my students with care, kindness, and respect was felt. That tiniest of moments is the grandest because it is what matters most each day. I still remember how my favorite teachers made me feel, and it’s been a long time. I will always remember.