Strikes and Strokes to My Ego



March SOLC–Day 18

 In fourth grade we spend a lot of time learning how to write essays: personal essays, persuasive essay, literary essays. We’ve learned about forming a thesis, finding reasons to support it and then providing varied evidence for each reason. We’ve also considered addressing countering arguments to make opinion writing stronger, starting with phrases like, “Some people might think…”, and then going on to offer a counterargument. Students in my class have really gravitated toward the structure of this genre and enjoy voicing their opinions and providing reasons and evidence for them.

We’ve had a couple of opportunities for some free writing time lately (highly unusual!) and many of my students are choosing to write essays. One essay I received a while back argued persuasively for a pajama day the next day. (Wish granted!) Another essay  was waiting on my desk after I returned from a sick day (I sliced about that here). Yesterday, a student handed me her essay with a big grin. It was entitled: “Mrs. Hogan is a good teacher.”

“Will you read it while we’re at specials?” H. asked.

“Sure,” I said, smiling. “Thanks!” So sweet!  After walking the kids to the Library, I headed back to my classroom to read the essay. I looked at the title again. A good teacher?  Hmmm…that’s a pretty tame claim. I mean, good’s good. But just good? In C’s essay I was the “best” teacher.   Laughing at my own thoughts and my ego, I started to read, looking forward to a feel-good moment. As I read, I had two different thought trains going. One focused on the actual essay structure:

She’s got the structure down pat. Hmmmm…Clear introduction…She’s got three reasons and decent evidence but she relies heavily on examples…

The other was channeling Sally Fields in her famous (infamous?) Oscar speech:

She thinks I’m cool. She thinks I’m helpful and nice! And fun, too! Oh, good, she likes me! 


(Ok, I know that being liked by my students is not the ultimate goal, but I’m only human!)

And then I got to the conclusion:


POP! My puffed-up ego precipitously deflated. So much for my feel-good moment!  I burst out laughing. Well, she’s definitely working on including that counterargument!  Now channeling optimism, I’m opting to believe that she’s not using it skillfully yet and not really indicating that there’s an ongoing student (or, God forbid, parent!) conversation about me not being a good teacher. Ugh! Now I’m not going to be able to get that thought out of my mind!

Luckily, a former first grade student of mine,now in second grade, arrived to save my day. Skipping into my classroom, she gave me a hug and handed me a St. Patrick’s Day card.


“Best teacher alive!” Now that’s a superlative! …though it does make me wonder how those contrasting dead teachers were performing.

16 thoughts on “Strikes and Strokes to My Ego

  1. Ha! Kids have a way to building us up then deflating that bubble in a matter of seconds. Lol H. sounds little a cutie, just keeping it real.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kid notes are the best! I always know I am “the best” until the next year. Yeah, and then those too honest moments:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrea Clark says:

    It’s so fun to read notes from students. My students have been working on counterarguments in their writing too, and sometimes they leave something to be desired. It’s hard to argue the opposite of what you’re trying to say. It seems that if your students are writing essays in their free writing time, you are doing a good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very fun to read! You know we teachers understand all your thoughts here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. vanessaw2007 says:

    This was a fun read! I don’t get too many notes from kiddos but lots of hugs. So funny when you say.. then I got to the conclusion… yeah for the student that saved the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. room311news says:

    Awwww! How fun! Little ones can write or say the cutest things!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Instead of evaluatons, I wanted conversations. Never figured out how to make that happen so evaluations are what I got.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amy Warntz says:

    I love these “warm fuzzy” notes. When I do receive them, I cherish them. The green one is definitely a keeper!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna Smith says:

    I had to laugh at the Pop! and at the “best teacher alive”! Teaching is such a trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love free writes. Thank you for sharing student a sneak of your students’ writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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