The teacher referred to in the following letter asked to remain anonymous.
The letter is one of many written as a final assignment by her students at
a school in the Bronx. The 2002-2003 school year was this teacher's first
year of teaching, and the letter suggests that she was imaginative and
innovative in facing her first few challenges. Readers wishing to communicate
with the teacher may write to anonymous@ESLminiconf.net.
Dear Future Fifth-Grader,
I am going to give you some advice about how to do good in Ms. Anonymous's fifth-grade
class. The first thing is that you have to read A LOT. Every day you have to do SSR
(and if you even make a PEEP, you get in BIG trouble), and Ms. Anonymous reads lots of
books to you. She reads out loud everyday after lunch. The best ones are: The Twenty-One
Balloons, Holes, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, The Polar Express and Jumanji. The
other ones are okay too. Also in reading you have to read in your Literature Circle. That
is where you have to talk to other students about a book. It is hard at first but you
will get the hang of it!
And if you think you will be tired out after all that reading, just wait, because
you have to do Writing Workshop too, and math and science and social studies and
current events!! You will be very busy in Ms. Anonymous's class and sometimes it is
HARD. You have to keep your Writer's Notebook really neat or Ms. Anonymous will call
your parents AND keep you inside during recess. Trust me on that one!
That is the other thing about this class. I am telling you right now, Ms. Anonymous DOES
NOT PLAY. We never get away with anything. You have to be good and do ALL your work
and ALL your homework, or she will make your life miserable. Like she will call your
parents, and make you miss gym and art, and send you to a fourth-grade class to finish
your homework, and make you work by yourself instead of working with a group. But
if you be good, then she will let you have free time in the afternoon to play a board
game with your friends or play on the computer. Or she will let you stay after
school to help her with stuff, and that is fun because you can talk to her and she
will give you juice and animal crackers. And she will let the class have parties
or watch movies sometimes on Fridays.
You can tell Ms. Anonymous likes you a lot if she lets you walk her to the
train after school. I get to do that a lot because I have been very good in this
class, mostly. Also, she is a good teacher because she will not give up on you even
if you are dumb in some things. She will stay after school and help you, and she
will never make fun of you. She can be mean, but not mean like saying nasty things
or picking on you, just mean like she doesn't let you play around.
Good luck in fifth grade!
Provided by Ms. Anonymous, the Bronx, NEW YORK
2003 ESL MiniConference Online