Every August us teachers eagerly scan our new list of students.  We attempt to put faces with the names in print. We identify the siblings and celebrate our good fortune as another year of goal setting commences.

Every year we invest our heart and soul into molding that list of names into deep thinkers, problem solvers, and my all time favorite “responsible, mature 4th graders.” We plan and execute each lesson with the hopes that those brilliant little minds are listening and learning. And there is a moment every year where I take a exhale and admit to my class that they are the best class I have ever taught. Its a confidence boost for us all. And at that moment I always mean what I say.

I have been lucky this year to repeatedly tell my class how amazing they are. This group of learners dive head first into new writing pieces. They read and question and infer. They work well with others. They have conversations with one another and myself about their reading and writing. They behave like “responsible, mature 4th graders.” They make their teacher proud.

That being said there is always some risk when a substitute is sent into a classroom.  Even the most well behaved class can waiver when the teacher they trust is not present. Yesterday, I was absent from school. I left the substitute lesson plans with a brief note. Please tell the students that my son is sick – they thrive on honest communication.  Remind them that I expect perfect behave.  Perfect behavior will be awarded with donuts.

Today, I returned to work and again praised my amazing students. Today, I read a short note before I began the day’s lessons.

Dear Mrs. Weathers,
Looks like you’re buying donuts!