At the end of the school year, ALTs sometimes receive ‘thank-you’ notes from their students. While these are often projects completed at the behest of the class teacher, the content of the letters can range from the drab to the exceptional—and can be absolutely heart-wrenching if the students know that you're not planning to come back next year.
I’d like to share a few selections from a remarkable class of grade 4s I taught this year. Note that these were all originally written in Japanese, and the students' names have been changed to protect their privacy.
When I heard that you were going to stop teaching, I was surprised. You are a very kind person, and you were always full of energy. In addition to English classes, I heard you also helped with the preparations for the School Exhibition. I also heard that you stayed at school late and did research. I want to become a kind person like you. Thanks for looking after us every day. Even after you stop teaching, please don’t forget us. Take care not to catch a cold. Goodbye.
English classes were lots of fun. I didn’t like English class before. But when I started grade 4 and started taking English with you, I quickly started to like English. You’re funny and kind, and I like that about you. We played cops & robbers and hide & seek on the schoolyard. You’re tall, so you always caught me quickly. Also, you can run really fast, and I think that’s amazing. I want to practice and be faster like you. I thought you were a really good teacher. I thought it was really kind of you to help Mrs. Tanaka with preparations for the grade 4 exhibit at the School Exhibition. Also, you’re really good at drawing. I’m bad at drawing, so I want to try harder like you. It made me happy to have English classes with you, and it was fun. Please keep up your hard work.
Thanks for always doing fun things during English time. I totally looked forward to English time. What was really funny was when you took ‘semi,’ or cicada, and made it ‘suki da’ ('I love you’). That was totally funny. When we were making hints for the animal quiz, I was happy that I understood lots of English. I think you’re a totally kind and funny person. I’ll try hard to be able to speak lots of English with you. We won’t forget you, so you don’t forget everyone in the 4-1 class. Stay well. Come back and play at our school sometime.
Thank you for teaching us English. When I heard that you were leaving so suddenly, I thought it was terrible. I wanted to learn more English from you. We don’t get to do English every day. But doing English up till now was fun. In English, there were times when I didn’t understand, but when you explained things and I gradually started to understand I was really happy. It was fun doing games in English and saying the names of the colors you pulled out of your file folder. If we meet again some day, please teach me more English. Thanks for everything. Please keep up your hard work at your new job.
Thanks for teaching us English. It was always interesting and really fun. Sometimes, when I didn’t understand, you explained things to me and I was really happy. Also, it was really fun to play in the schoolyard. I didn’t really think English was fun, but studying with you, I thought “Hey, this is really fun!” Even if you go to another school, don’t forget the fun of English. Come back and play sometime.
I’ve never seen a teacher as enthusiastic as you. You played with us during recess and lunch break, played soccer-baseball with us in the schoolyard, and you left us with good memories. During English time you made picture books with us, and when everyone called a rectangle ‘roku ten go’ (6.5), you laughed and wrote it on the board, and it was really funny, and I’m really sad that someone who was so energetic every day has to leave. You taught us English we didn’t know and it was always fun. For playing during English time, recess, lunch break, and also in the schoolyard, and for teaching us English we didn’t know, thank you very much. Next year, please come back to see our sports day and school play. There are kids other than me who are sad. So please, next year, come back to see our sports day and school play. We’d all be happy. Thank you very much for everything. I hope we meet again somewhere. We all really liked you.
Published April 2009.