Sour cherry trees

Dear teacher,

Some students are like sour cherry trees, scraggly on the surface and difficult to prune. 

They need their space as much as they need attention and can’t always appreciate a sunny day.

Still, you treat them gently, water as needed and try each day to help them grow.

You may wonder, as they leave your classroom for the last time, whether you’ve made a difference at all.

Maybe that little tree looks the same to you today as it did on that first day of school, all ferocious bark and closely held branches.

But, stone fruits will surprise you. Just when you think they’ll never blossom, they yield a bumper crop of the brightest, plumpest cherries you’ve ever seen.

The shame of teaching is that the people most responsible for a successful harvest aren’t always around to see the first fruits, especially when they’re helping sour cherry trees grow.

It’s all there though, embedded in a tangled up root system none of us can see. The stories you read, the lunches you shared, the games you played, the assignments you guided, the projects you tackled — they linger long after those stubborn little saplings have loaded up their backpacks and headed home.

The rings of this 2021 school year will spread wide in every student’s trunk, thanks to all that extra effort they experienced from school administrators, teachers, para-professionals, volunteers, parents and coaches. 

If they didn’t blossom this year, don’t worry. Some trees take a little more time.

Just know that when that fruit does appear, it’s going to be extra bright and beautiful thanks to all that care you provided during a really difficult stretch.

From those of us who see your kindness and professionalism and know how deeply it reaches, thank you.

Sour cherry trees can take a few years to blossom.
And when they do, they owe a lot to the techers who cultivated them along the way.

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