This will be the last time this year's Super Stars will receive feedback or a note from me, and most likely it will be added by parents to their child's copy of Oh, the Places You'll Go! or some other keepsake book that will be given upon graduation from high school. As seventeen and eighteen-year-olds there's a good chance my students won't remember me, but they may retain clear memories of when they unexpectedly had to continue their kindergarten learning activities from home. While heartfelt, honest sentiments are always best, the conclusion of this year has me feeling raw and exhausted. I cannot bring myself to handwrite these notes. I've tried writing one to see if I could then scan it, a solution suggested by my husband, but I hate the look of the lined paper, and frankly, my wobbly penmanship. With my thoughts clear but my wrist and fingers unwilling to execute, I came across another way to solve the problem: adhesive mailing labels. I can type and then print what I want to say, handwrite each salutation and closing, and keep the sticker backing in place so that parents can easily add it to their child's book.
Every year I give my Stars a final storybook, an end-of-the-year certificate, and a copy of our memory video on a disc.
This year they will also receive this note:
Children will tell their parents "Oh, Mrs. Sommerville always says 'goodness gracious me' (or 'goodness gracious Google') and 'okie dokie artichoke-y,'" and hopefully my Stars and their families will understand how much I appreciate them without becoming sad. It's been emotional, writing this last note from the teacher for both a present-day almost first-grader and a future high school graduate. I hope that when my Stars read it again twelve years from now that it affirms how much they have been valued by not only their families but by their teachers, too.