1) Teens live in each others heads and are terribly concerned about how they are perceived by their peers and are usually "too cool for school" to express this sort of appreciation, ESPECIALLY to a sub. But in this case, they got over it and decided to to this on their own.
2) Sure, it's computer paper and a marker. No fluffy clouds or suns with a smiley face or stick figures that the masterpiece of a kindergartener would produce but at this age, teenagers are usually self-absorbed and think mostly of themselves, so the effort in and of itself makes this a treasure I will keep years into my career.
3) I wake up at 5ish in the A.M. every morning and take several buses to these schools because I love what I do and know I am called to this work, moments like this make it all worth it and my labor is not in vain. This will serve as a lasting memento when the hard days come.
4) You can only truly get through to students. change lives and reach them if they actually have your respect. It doesn't matter how much of an expert you are in your subject, how long you have been teaching, or how loud you can shout. If your students don't generally respect you, your lessons will go in one ear and out the other and your impact will be minimal. Earning such respect is a tall order and often we teachers go through severe periods of self-doubt with such a responsibility. No matter where I end up next school year, occurrences like this let me know I CAN DO THIS and I WILL BE EFFECTIVE.
4) LAST & MOST IMPORTANT: I pray daily for God to bestow His wisdom to me on how I interact with the students and prayed that I was able to build a rapport with them this week and be a DAILY REPRESENTATION of Jesus Christ in my actions. He definitely answered that prayer, this is a lasting reminder of His Faithfulness.
THANK YOU TO MS. CHITWOOD'S 5th PERIOD CLASS AT GAINESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL! AND TO THE REST OF HER WONDERFUL STUDENTS! IT'S BEEN MORE THAN A PLEASURE LEARNING SO MUCH FROM YOU ALL!