This past summer, I had taken a Communications Applications course to earn the Speech credit required for graduation without having to take up a class period during the year. As the first semester ended just before winter break, I wrote my teacher an email today thanking her for teaching us and taking the time out of her vacation to teach students about Communication, so that we can use our time during the school year to do other things in the free semester we now have. While thanking her, I did have two pieces of criticism that I shared.
The letter went like this (names have been abbreviated to protect the identities of the educators):
Happy New Year! I hope you still remember me! The second semester has just started and I would like to thank you for being my Communications Applications teacher at summer school this past summer of 2013. Your teachings allowed me to get the Speech credit required for graduation without having to take up space in my yearly schedule. Because of your class, I was able to take a semester long Law I class which I wouldn't have been able to until next year had I not taken Speech with you.
I enjoyed your class very much from the activities involving reading storybooks, making song parodies, and general speeches. I was only disappointed in the fact that you didn't believe in my ability to be different and be "great". There were two times when I had felt that I wasn't encouraged in your class.
1) When we had to write/present an introductory speech about a leader, I had asked if we could introduce ourselves. I would have been content with a no, but your comment was slightly heartbreaking. You had said "No, you're not a leader at all." As a teacher that teaches communication and speaking with respect, I felt that I wasn't given that respect and was quite angry. I believe that I am a leader, and others feel the same. Being a leader, I even had a recorded speech online (another aspect of the assignment)
I hope that that I have proven to you that I am a leader
2) When we were making our resumes, I had put on Executive Director of Philanthropy Kids (2012- ). You were incredulous that someone at the age of 15 (13 at the time of start) could be the Executive Director and you kept asking me how I could be in charge of an organization at that age. The following day, to prove to you that I could be in charge of a movement at a young age, I brought my magazine, and unintentionally got in trouble for showing one of my friends who had believed me. You asked me if I wanted the magazine to be yours implying that I should sit down and put it away. At any other time I would have done just that, but then I had to make a point I said yes...and I handed the magazine to you. I saw the look on your face of disbelief that I was so willing to lose something to a teacher. I said to you "That magazine that's in your hands right now, that's my magazine, and I'm the executive director of the organization Philanthropy Kids. From that point on, you had "believed" that I was capable in doing different things that other kids my age weren't doing.
I didn't mean any disrespect in the above passage, but I just wanted to bluntly explain to you my only two issues with your class. But criticism is useless unless I recommend a solution. I would ask you to believe in your students. You don't need to expect that all students are amazing, but just believe that they can be different. No student should ever feel as if they have to prove that they aren't like the rest to their teacher, they should expect that they are treated as an individual and not just "student-[insert ID number here]". Again, I wish I could do the course again because it was so much fun, and I would like to thank you for being such a great teacher and I hope to see you again sometime in the near future.