unexpected inspiration

What we want is for our children to grow up into empathetic, responsible, and motivated individuals that care about and look after one another as a community.  When this little card popped up on our “goodbye day” with a bar of chocolate, it not only made me smile, but it made me think: I had at least a sliver of an impact.

I have my doubts about this planet and its inhabitants (see my I’m moving to Mars post), but this lifted my spirits beyond expectation, and then I knew that at least three young minds absorbed some inspiration from all my jabber about the environment.

As a teacher, I have an important job.  I also am a citizen of the world and have an important job and responsibility there too.  Who knew I can combine the two?!  We did plenty of classroom work around the topic of environmental responsibility; so much so that students would say, “Oh, let me guess, Ms. Rake’s topic is going to be the environment!  Or nature!  Or compost!”  And I respond with, “Uuuggghhh, I’m so PREDICTABLE.”  And then we laugh.

Around Waste Reduction Week last October we did a big global project about waste awareness (see my Project Awareness post) that involved a film, Canadian awareness campaigns, note-taking and brainstorming, and interviewing some of our own Zero Waste Bloggers via video; the kids loved the latter portion of the project, and they were so stoked when a blogger chose their question to answer.

In February we started our Poetry unit, and were able to find a lot of spoken word poems about the environment (like this one from Prince Ea); these were particularly inspiring to the class, and each time we’d have a lengthy discussion.  Some kids included this theme in their poetry.

I even used compost as an essay topic as we were doing preparation work for writing.  The kids eat it up, because as long as you’re stoked about it, most of them will be too.  It is amazing when you get to find out about how a student perceived the year, what they learned, and what they will remember you for.  It encouraged me, more than they will ever know.

One thing you should know: this was written by three top students, and they loved watching me read the card so I could pretend to be gutted that they purposefully misspelled “alot”, and glued together phrases like, “now our grammar is gooder”.  Mostly, though, I was moved that they legitimately apologized for buying chocolate wrapped in plastic.  I’ll miss this crew so much!



    • Thanks, Lauren! It is rare at middle school that they voice this kind of appreciation, so it definitely feels great! Especially when they let me know that they absorbed some of the environmental impact that we have been learning about. Gives me some hope and comfort that they are thinking about it critically.


  1. I love that you finding ways to incorporate information about the environment into your lessons. Those kids will always have an eye for that now! I love that they wrote you such a great letter.


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