By Larry McGee/Guest
In today’s hi-tech world consider yourself fortunate when and if you receive a handwritten note or card. While I can still appreciate the electronic version of expressing one’s feelings, I long for and value the “old school” delivery of the same expression.
Sitting on the top of my bookcase in my home office, you will find stacks of handwritten cards ranging from thank you cards to birthday cards to cards of encouragement and healing.
When I was a student at Northwestern State, there was a professor, Dr. Leonard Fowler who promoted the idea of sending postcards to the parents of students that would be in my classes one day. Years later after being a teacher in the
public school system, I decided to give it a try. The premise of the idea was to send home a postcard to the parents briefly highlighting some of the student’s accomplishments.
For some of my students, it was a stretch to highlight their accomplishments; however, my role as a teacher was to look for the positives.
Back to the postcards-my principal approached me about teaching two sections of fourth grade science. I attempted to persuade him to change his mind but was not successful in my effort. He had checked my certification to discover that it included fourth grade and besides he said, “You will do a wonderful job for those kids.”
I quickly learned that fourth graders could be like “electric chihuahuas” but once you got their attention, they were all teachable.
As the year progressed and my students developed, I informed the
students that each one of them would be asked to select a science
project to present to the class. They would have to produce a poster and some type of model to go along with the project. This assignment had gone well with my junior-high students and I was determined that these fourth graders could do the same.
One of my first postcards was mailed out for the following student accomplishment.
A child named Sam was kind of withdrawn and it appeared to me that
he just hadn’t blossomed into what I believed he could be. When it was his turn to share his project with his classmates, the unexpected happened. His project was about gliders and how they operate.
Using his model glider, he began his presentation capturing all of his fourth graders’ interest as he spoke passionately about the subject. Without any cue on my part, 29 students slid out of their desks and sat on the floor while they continued to listen to their classmate intently. As I stood in the back of the room, I could only wish his parents could have witnessed his performance.
There’s not much room to express one’s self in detail on the back of a postcard but here is what I remember writing:
Dear Mr./ Mrs. , I wish you could have been here yesterday. Sam did an amazing job presenting his science project and the class really enjoyed it. I hope you will feel free to come by and visit anytime. We would love having you. Sincerely,
The next week I was standing duty in the school cafeteria and caught a glimpse of Sam’s mother-she was smiling from ear to ear. As she approached me with a genuine happiness in her voice, she said, “Mr. ,you will not believe how much that little postcard meant to me and my husband… “
There would be more postcards to follow in my brief teaching career.
Gazing over the basket of cards in the corner of my office prompted me to think about not the number that I have received but more importantly about how many more I should be sending out.
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