An open letter to my students

(To readers of my blog, this is a letter than I needed to write to my students. We had a very special bond over the last two years and I realize that I may sound like I’m exaggerating how much they liked me as a teacher. I realize that teachers come and go, but I promise that students like this might not.)

To my amazing, wonderful, ridiculous students,

I think that most of you have heard a rumor that I’m leaving FHS. Unfortunately, that rumor is true. I should have told you by the end of the school year, but I made a selfish choice to wait. I couldn’t look into all of your faces and tell you that I wasn’t coming back because I knew that it would disappoint you.

I want to be clear that if there was one solid, concrete reason that I didn’t want to leave, it was because of you all. But a lot of things happened behind the scenes this year that made my decision for me. I didn’t want next year’s AP students to have three different French teachers in four years. I didn’t want to leave before next year’s junior class graduated. But that’s the way that it had to be, and I wish I could express that in a better way.

I didn’t tell you before I left, not only because it was tough, but also because I want you to continue on with French. I don’t want you to stop just because I’m not there, and I don’t want you to give up because you think it won’t be the same. I want you to remember your excitement and enthusiasm for taking French. Teachers come and go, but I hope that I caused at least a few of you to really love the language itself. Past the “quelle tristesse,” the “oh la la,” and the “zut, zut, et zut” I know that you all really have a gift in learning French and that taking it next year can be as fun as you imagine it to be.

Although I am truly sad to be leaving you all, it’s the best move for me. But I want to leave you with the memories that I have, the times that shaped my career as a teacher, and the moments I will never forget, not in a million years.

I remember …

  • Day one of my first year, when I was so intimidated and everyone wanted me to promise a million fêtes for that year
  • Breaking your hearts when I told you no one says “zut, zut, et zut!” in real life
  • Breaking your hearts a second time when I told you no one says “je regrette” either
  • Doing ridiculous textbook exercises and making fun of the art (polygon feet, anyone?)
  • Yelling at the PA when it interrupted me several times in one day
  • The clock song
  • Making the “My favorite’s gouda” motion from She’s the Man every time I wanted to make a point
  • And even sometimes when I didn’t make a point
  • The time that Pierre got a random drug test and he never lived it down
  • The time we played sports with my clipboard because someone asked me, “are we doing something FUN today?”
  • Nicolas and his cat cutouts
  • Bell ringers
  • Andy being the “two liter guy” for fêtes
  • Falling on the floor in mock tears when someone (Madeleine!) denied that “Je suis hyper cool.”
  • The time we contemplated for about 15 minutes what it would be like to drink “jus de pomme de terre”
  • Sitting on the floor in protest of someone talking
  • The time I moved the desks into diagonal rows and everyone told me that this was so different from old Madame’s room
  • The first time we played Kahoot and the music alone nearly caused a few heart attacks
  • The first time you realized that I wouldn’t quiz you on pointless stuff that we didn’t learn
  • Letting you all think that you were “derailing” or “distracting” me when we “aired our grievances.” Really, I could just tell when you all were upset about something and needed to talk it out
  • The day that Zayn left One Direction and how it sucked the life out of some of my classes (I’m only slightly ashamed to include that one)
  • The art analysis speaking test where my French IIIs freaked out about something we had practiced for three weeks in class.
  • The tram-osaurus and related jokes
  • Using Oprah as a scapegoat any time there was a knock at the door
  • Letting Odette cut the strings off of my skirts because she’d freak out if I didn’t
  • Messing up Leon and Lyon when I was making a point for you not to
  • Speaking in a “country” French accent because someone dared me to
  • Publicly making André feel bad when he didn’t sign up for French III … you know I only did it because you were a good sport
  • When Croissant changed his French name to Croissant … and no one can remember what his original French name was
  • The time you tried to convince me to call Jacques “Jacques dos”
  • How many times a day I heard “hola” in response to “BONJOUR!!”
  • How many times a day I heard “oui” or “eh” in response to “ça va?”
  • The times I really saw French clicking in some of your heads; a lot of you wrote me really excellent stuff this year when you stopped freaking out about spelling
  • All of the motions to the body parts that my French IIs learned this year
  • Doing the crab dance
  • Four corners becoming my French Is favorite activity ever
  • Every time someone called an assessment “easy,” as if I would get any enjoyment out of it being the hardest and all of you tanking it
  • Donut day
  • Any time you all took an exam and were astounded that all the stuff from the study guide was on it
  • Days upon days of yelling when someone forgot that their snack had peanuts in it and ate it anyway
  • Those two times that I spilled my coffee in front of the same group of French IIs
  • When we played the super nintendo after the exam
  • Mini rock paper scissors tournaments that you thought were a waste of time, but really gave you a much needed break
  • The wonderful notes, gifts, and hugs that I received over the past two years
  • Every time someone told me that I was their favorite teacher and I had to hold back tears
  • The way some of you were surprised or caught off guard that I was speaking French the whole time during class and you didn’t even notice

Believe me, there are so many more memories that I could add to this list, but please know that I loved being your teacher, and I’m so sad to be leaving you all. If you need anything from me, ever, please let me know and I will be happy to help you in any way that I can.

Once more, please don’t stop taking French just because you’re sad that I’m gone. When I was in high school, I had one French teacher my freshman year, then a really amazing French teacher the two years after that. Then she had to leave. My senior year I was so upset that I didn’t take French at all (AP students, are you listening?!) and it’s a choice that I still regret making to this day. Don’t remember French class because of Madame, but remember how much fun it was and how much you actually know. I believe that all of you will do so well in the coming years, and I would hate to know that so much of your talent would go to waste.

There were a lot of things I wish I could have changed about the last two years, but having you as students was definitely not one of them. I hope that you understand why I made the choice I made.

Au revoir,
Madame

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4 thoughts on “An open letter to my students

  1. I know I’m not one of your students, but this was great for me to read too! I nearly switched schools myself, but couldn’t work closer to home because of $, darn it! But I plan to keep looking, because even though we love our students so so much, we have to do what’s best for us! Good luck with your new school and please keep blogging!

  2. Hey Madame, I’m going to be going to school in Belgium for the first semester of my senior year (next year) I leave in August and will be attending a French school. I was wondering if you could offer me any help on how to get a good basis of French before I go. Thanks hope all is well!
    Ryan Price
    P. S. Feel free to email me at rkprice14@gmail.com

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