As teachers, we’re given cards or notes from students, parents, and administration thanking us for our hard work or for going that extra mile. This is especially true around the holidays or at the end of the year. These kind gestures are somewhat expected and, most often, somewhat overlooked with a simple, “well, that was nice after a hellish year.”
What do we do with these cards, notes, letters, drawings, etc? Typically, mine landed in a pile, stacked amongst binders and notebooks from the year. I might find them a few months later, read through a few, and at best, they’d continue to live amongst binders; at worst, they’d be thrown away. A few really good ones might make it home and into a memory bin store in the
Let me introduce you to the “Monday Folder.” The Monday Folder is a folder or binder that stores meaningful cards and letter from students, parents, and administration. Why? Because when you don’t feel like going back on Monday, you’re reminded of the real value of your work and the power that you have within your classroom.
Two weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from my 8th grade teacher. He said that he was looking in his basement for a painting he had done, and he came upon a letter that I had written to hi the day after graduation. To my teacher I wrote, “You can’t even begin to imagine all the days you helped my life become easier.” It continued, “Thank you. I know that those two words, thank you, seem so short for all I’m trying to say, but there isn’t enough time to tell you all the reasons why I want to say it.” The letter was an entire page long filled with emotion (her, I was a teenage girl!), love, and gratitude for all my teacher had done for me.
The letter was important enough for him to keep for twenty years, but it doesn’t hand much power in the basement!
For all the teachers out there, here is my challenge to you:
I challenge you to create your very own Monday Folder. Open the bins or photo boxes housing your cards and notes from students, parents, co-workers, and administration. Then organize them into a folder or binder, so that you can see them WHENEVER you want – a frustrating Thursday, Sunday afternoon, or the dreaded Monday morning. Whenever you want a dose of appreciate or a reminder of all the good you’re doing, your Monday Folder is there for you.
If you’re a new teacher, create an 8×11 vision board with symbols and words depicting the type of teacher you want to be. This way it can be slid into the front of any binder and you can see it all day long. And get in the habit now of saving all of the touching cards and notes you’ll get throughout your career.
Teachers, if for no other reason, consider this: your Monday Folder highlights the best of you. If you get a nasty parent complaining about you to a new principal or administrator and you feel your reputation is on the line, you can walk into the office, put your Monday Folder on their desk and show them the real teacher you are.
We want to hear from you! Do you have a Monday Folder? How accessible is it or how often do you look at it? Thanks for reading and we can’t wait to hear from you!