A Letter to Collin in My Class

Dear Collin,

The Kindergarten teachers warned me that you were mean to other kids last year. In September I got a phonecall from Harvey’s mom who told me you targeted Harvey all last year and it was a big problem. Harvey didn’t want to go to school and he was only in Kindergarten.  The teasing and name calling started immediately. I  worked really hard in the to make a connection with you. For a couple of months you were getting along with your classmates. But again recently kids have been coming to me, “Ms. Stegink, Collin is making fun of me” and “Ms. Stegink, Collin called me a _________” or “Ms. Stegink, Collin spit on me”. Collin, I called your mom today. She doesn’t know why you are being mean to the other kids. She says you tell her every day that you don’t like school. I feel so sad. Why are you so unhappy? I saw you so excited to read the “Who Would Win” books that came in our Scholastic order last week. It was the most engaged I have ever seen you. I wonder, are you mean to your peers because you don’t feel connected? Collin, tomorrow I promise I will start working on our relationship even more. I just wish you would give me a clue about how you are feeling. It’s day #118 of first grade and you and I need to figure this out. See you in the morning.


Ms. Stegink




8 thoughts on “A Letter to Collin in My Class

  1. This breaks my heart. This is the hard part of teaching. We work so hard to help some kids. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Is Spring Break far off? Maybe he just needs a vacation. I don’t say that to be glib. You know how kids (and adults) can hold it together but as a vacation nears they fall apart. Something is going on with Collin. I hope you or Mom or someone can find the key.


  2. This is heartbreaking and unfortunately I could write a similar letter to one of my students. I agonize over each student, but especially those kiddos who act out and who need love, but ask for it in the most unloving ways. I tell myself, keep trying, keep working with the child because you never know what will stick. I’m hoping your love and dedication can be felt by your kiddo, Collin.


  3. Oh Pam. I have chills. I thought the letter was going a different way – that those warnings were over reactions. I love your honesty and your deep, deep caring for your students. I think what I appreciate the most here is that it is day #118 and you are NOT giving up. This can be the hardest time of year for our students but you are NOT giving up. He is so very lucky to have you in his life.


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