A Letter To My Students

Guest Post by Stacy Kolafa

You call me Miss. You call me Señora— You call me teacher or profe.  

Every fall, it starts again: I learn new names and faces, and see familiar ones passing through the halls. When I’m lucky, some of you return to my classroom to tell me about your first year post-high school.  

It’s cliché, but you are my kiddos from the moment you enter my classroom on Day One.

Because of that, I have to challenge you.  All those times I take away your phone or fidget spinner, or make you communicate [gasp] in Spanish, or push you outside of your comfort zone— I know those times are difficult.  I do this because I care.

I wear the term ‘Force’ as a badge of honor, because it means I’m doing my job.  It doesn’t matter if you are an A student or a C student, I am always going to ask you to do your very best.  

Because even though I want you to learn the subject that I teach— Ultimately, I want you to learn how to be the best you.  

The person who has to fight to earn what they want, instead of it just being given to them.  The person who figures out how they learn or communicate best.  The person who appreciates other people’s backgrounds and stories.  The person who sees someone alone and invites them in.  

The person who stands up for what is right, even if the fight is uphill and excruciatingly long.  

Think back to what you learned in school: Of course you learned content, but didn’t you also have to work hard to earn your grade?  Didn’t you need to learn how to work with people you weren’t necessarily friends with?  Did you ever have to work with someone who wasn’t picked for your team?  

Earning your diploma took a lot of time and work, and for a time— it seemed like a long, uphill battle. Don’t forget that.

All those little lessons add up to making you— you.

I have had the privilege of working with students for nearly 10 years now. In those 10 years, I have seen many of you grow into adults, and I couldn’t be prouder of you than if you were my own.  

You are working hard to pursue your dreams and passions— to stand up and fight for causes near and dear to you. You have persevered in the face of hardships.  

You may forget the content you learn in my class.  You may even forget me.  I may even forget a name or face as the years go on.  

But know this: I want the best for you, and I am always excited to see you grow.

I am so proud of you.

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Stacy Kolafa is a Spanish Teacher within the Wisconsin School System, and actress within the Milwaukee community.
Photo Credit: freestocks.org

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