It’s here. We’ve made it to the end of sixth grade. Some days have flown by, while others have seemed never ending. But we did it. Congratulations on successfully navigating your first year of middle school. You have come so far from the kiddos who were nervously trying to open their locker and find their classes. Look at you now! You’re confident seventh graders, ready to meet new challenges, and you have grown so much this school year. Most of you are taller than me now! Just kidding. The growth you’ve made has been much more significant than just becoming taller than your goofy (and short) ELA teacher.
Many of you have shown such huge development as writers. You’ve become eloquent and concise, and have learned to express your personality, your voice, in your writing. You know your process, or parts of it, you’ve played with the craft, and you have learned how to communicate with your audience. It’s been a beautiful evolution, one I’ve been honored to guide you through. My hope is that you continue to see writing as a powerful medium, one where you are able to share your thoughts and ideas. Because they matter. And so do you.
As readers, you have helped me in creating a wonderful, supportive community. You’ve ravenously consumed a huge number of books, and then you’ve shared them with each other and with me. Some of my favorite moments have been listening to your book talks, even the informal and quick ones that happen in passing, where you recommend a book to a friend. And, as you all know, nothing brings me more joy than sharing my love of literature with you. Watching you devour a book I suggested and love it is among my most favorite things, and many of you have taken advantage of it this year. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you as readers, and I hope I’ve helped you find (or keep) your love of reading. You have certainly helped maintain mine.
More than just our ELA skills though, is the growth I’ve seen you make as people. You have each grown into yourselves and demonstrated such maturity as the year has gone on. The grace with which you’ve approached our more difficult conversations has been astounding, and you’ve handled a wide array of challenges with grit and perseverance. Many of you have come into your own, become more comfortable with you who are, and it’s an incredible thing. Not just because you have felt able to do this, but because you’ve accepted one another, even when you don’t share the same experience or perspective.
There have been some amazing moments in room 330 this year. The content we have covered has been staggering if you think about it. We’ve learned evidence-based writing, opinion essays, pronoun usage, cultural diversity in literature, research skills, and persuasive techniques in advertising. Beyond the content, though, we’ve learned how to disagree respectfully, share our ideas, find our writing voice, discuss tough topics with maturity, and take action on something that is important to us. It sounds like a lot, and it is. It’s incredible all that you have accomplished.
The end of the year is always a bittersweet time for me. While I’m looking forward to the summer and a new school year in August, I’m always sad to see you all move on to seventh grade. I know it’s good that you’re going, it means I’ve done my job, but it’s hard to say goodbye. We’ve spent an entire school year together, grown and learned a ton, gotten to know one another, and made some memories. There have been plenty of inside jokes, goofy moments, and laughs. There’s also been difficult moments, times of frustration and even anger, followed by serious persistence from each of you. I’ve challenged you and pushed you, and hopefully helped you realize some of the potential that lies within you. And you’ve certainly left an impression on me too.
As you go into summer and then on to your new school year, keep your curiosity and sense of wonder. Hold on to your grace and kindness, and ensure you always give it your all. Accept others, listen to and acknowledge different perspectives, and, most importantly, forever stay true to who you are. And know this—if you ever need anything, my door is always open.
I am so incredibly proud of you.