Suitcase of Memories

My students are writing a reflective letter to themselves right now, capturing the memorable moments of the year and challenging themselves for the future. I thought I’d join in and do the same.


You’ve been called Miss K. for almost seven years now. “Teacher” has been much of your identity, but this is all going to change soon enough. As you pack your suitcase of memories, be sure to include these for the road.

  • The day Seth fell asleep in class, so you packed up the rest of the class and took them around the corner so he’d wake up to an empty room.
  • The time Peanut hid in front of your desk, then jumped out and scared you breathless when you walked back over.
  • The day Peanut died. The day you felt more than ever how important it was to be the best teacher and Christ-follower possible because the days are few.
  • The day T recited his poem about food for the class and forgot his line, so it sounded like this: “I love food. It makes me…crap.”
  • The day Donnesha came and asked how to own a book, and you happened to have a good one to share with her.
  • The day you unplugged Clardy’s computer mouse and heard her ask her son where the mouse unlock key was on her keyboard.
  • The day K came to you out of the blue, sat down on a stool next to you, and spilled her life story over lunch.
  • The day you walked into your classroom after lunch and found your big desk moved to the center of the room.
  • The times when the lightbulb inside a kid’s head turned on, and he/she finally got the concept you’d been teaching for so long.
  • The times you accidentally used the wrong sign with a Deaf student. And not just the wrong sign, but a bad sign you didn’t even know.
  • The crazy, hilarious days with Corey and Ciris in the same class. My, how everyone laughed!
  • The time you paid Jordan a dollar to lick something gross off the wall…and he did it!
  • Eating French food the kids had made as part of Cyrano de Bergerac.
  • The kid who found his calling in video productions because he made his first video in your class.
  • The times you had to apologize to the kids for losing it…and they said they weren’t used to teachers apologizing before.
  • Giving kids nicknames in class that stuck with them even after the class had ended.
  • Recommending a kid for drum major before you left that school…and coming back to a football game a year later to see him rock the house.
  • The many, many times you’ve wondered if you were making a dent…and the times when God would send someone at just the right time to remind you that you are His, and everything counts.

Don’t forget the kids. Don’t forget what they taught you – what He taught you. It all counts. Every last bit – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. This is not the end.

It’s only the beginning.


The Last Pages

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It all ends in nineteen days. Less than three weeks. Soon, I’ll take off my stole, hang up my graduation gown, and walk through these halls for the last time as a teacher. While I’m excited about what is to come because I’ve no doubt it’s what God has prepared for me, the fact that I’ll be leaving this career behind soon is difficult to process.

Today, I started writing what would be the first of many goodbye letters to students. It happens every year – I always wonder if I’ve done enough, said enough, taught well enough…But this time, it’s even more prevalent in my mind. I may never see some of these beautiful souls again here on Earth. Did I point the way to Christ enough?

I’ve spent almost seven years of my life – basically my entire adult life so far – teaching literature…But if I haven’t taught them to apply the stories to life, what’s the point? If I haven’t taught them that stories are the essence of our culture and our souls, what have I done? If I haven’t shown them how to find beauty in even the most wretched of places, hasn’t it all been for nought? If we can find redemption even in the macabre tales penned by Poe, we can find redemption in ourselves…and isn’t that what Christ did?

It’s like writing in a journal that only has a few pages left. What can I say to make that last mark? What last lecture can I deliver? I’ve always been told that the best Bible people will ever read is our lives…Have I been legible?

Jesus, I’m tired. Split between the already and the not yet and the somewhat here. Longing for the next journal to open, yet pining to linger here just a little longer. I need You to take this pen and fill the last pages with all of You. Wear me like a cloak, Jesus. Make my story count with these kids for eternity.

Because THAT’s the whole point.