Virtual Notes of Appreciation

Some years ago a writing project friend said something about writing notes (handwritten ones) to colleagues every week. At that point I’d been sending postcards to my students throughout the year and writing to my aunt and grandmother regularly so I was totally on board with handwritten messages as being meaningful. It just hadn’t ever occurred to me to do this for colleagues. I decided this friend was brilliant (well, I didn’t decide it right then, I already knew it. This just confirmed it.).

I’ve been doing this now for at least five years and it has brought me immense joy. It gets me thinking about why I appreciate my colleagues and reminds me of all the ways they are awesome. Often I get emails or notes back from people saying how much they needed that card on that day. I’ll see my notes pinned up on bulletin boards in offices and classrooms for months. It takes me so little time but it seems to mean a lot.

In the past few weeks, as we’ve been away from our school buildings and staying away from people in general, I’ve been mulling over what to do. I thought about finding mailing addresses for colleagues and sending notes via snail mail. I thought about sending emails. Emails don’t feel as meaningful (although I definitely need to be letting my colleagues know how much I appreciate them in this moment and emails will do). Finding mailing addresses isn’t always that easy and asking people for them sort of ruins the whole thing.

Finally I came up with a plan that I think I like. There are many, many colleagues from whom I learn and who give me so much who do not work in my building. Or in my district. Or in my state. Or even in this country. So I’m going to write posts about those colleagues every week as a way to show my appreciation. We’ll see how it goes.

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