When high school English teacher Brittni Darras learned that one of her students had tried to kill herself, she was grief-stricken. Darras had known her as “a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman.” As Reader’s Digest recounted,
Darras felt helpless and devastated by the news, so she asked the mother if she would deliver a handwritten note to her student at the hospital. Darras’ letter praised her student for her academic accomplishments and glowing personality, and told her how much she was missed in class.
“My student got the letter,” Darras wrote in a public Facebook post.
Her mom said that her daughter cried, turned to her mom said, “How could somebody say such nice things about me? I didn’t think anybody would miss me if I was gone.” It made me realize that I was way too close to losing another student to suicide.
So she began to write more letters – one for every one of her students. Over two months, she wrote more than 100. (You can read a sample in the image at the top of this post.) In each, she shared what she found special and unique about each young man or woman.
“We need to remember that each human being is unique, and that is what makes them special,” Darras says. “Instead of trying to change it, we need to embrace it, because together, we can make a difference, and we can save lives!”
The Role of Care in Education
That kind of caring is perhaps the most valuable thing any teacher can give to a student, and every day, countless teachers strive to provide it, despite circumstances that seem only to get more difficult.
Time and resources are stretched to the limit by shrinking budgets and increasing academic mandates. More students than ever come to the classroom struggling with trauma, learning disabilities, mental health issues, behavioral problems, and more.
Despite all this, many a teacher will go above and beyond to meet their students’ needs and help them learn the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in today’s economy.
Such caring is foundational to real learning. And when we see our students blossoming as a result, it’s often the fuel that keeps us going.
And although we may not hear it from our students at the time, what we give matters deeply to them. The lesson of caring lingers.
Saying “Thank You”
As this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week gets underway, we want those of you in education to know just how much we value what you do – just as we’re certain that your students and their families value what you do.
Your work is among the most important there is: nurturing the next generations.
In gratitude, we’d like to offer educators a special discount this month on all of our online and Oregon courses and all products. Just use the code WELLNESS to receive 10% off (that’s worth $95 off our Online Certification Bundle or $75 off our Oregon Summer Intensive). The offer is good through May 31.
Thank you for all that you do.