A Letter To My Students

Dear Fifth Grade Students,

I am SO sorry I have not been in our classroom for an entire month! When the doctor first described my surgery, I was told I might be better in two weeks. As you know, this was not the case. I have been in “recovery mode” for over four weeks now, with a lot more work to do!


I’ll be honest – this has been a very tough time for me. There have been several times when I have been extremely discouraged. One night I was so frustrated, well, my eyes were getting a little watery, if you know what I mean! I could not believe that this recovery was taking so long, and worse, I couldn’t believe it was so painful.

The reason I am writing this letter to you all today, however, is not to whine. It is not to express, “poor me.” It is not to get you to feel sorry for me and send over a box of donuts (although, I’m not going to lie – a donut sounds pretty good right about now). Which reminds me – I TOTALLY owe you all a donut when I get back for doing so well on your tests! 🙂


Anyway, the reason I am writing this letter to you is to ENCOURAGE you. This letter has been anything but encouraging so far, but I have good news. I AM getting better. A week ago I still couldn’t walk without crutches. Five days ago I took my first steps without crutches. Yesterday, I didn’t use a crutch the entire day. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t been painless, but it has been worth it.

My wonderful students, I am writing to you to let you know GRIT is no joke. It is a necessity in life if you want to succeed. It is a necessity in life if you want to overcome obstacles. It is a necessity in life if you want to do what some days seems impossible. GRIT is no joke – it is a TREASURE.

There are a lot of definitions out there for GRIT, but I came up with my own. Here it is:

“GRIT is the determined behavior of overcoming adversity
in order to achieve a goal.”

With all of my recent struggles I could have easily given up, or tried very little, and just sat around my house watching Amazon Prime and eating, well, donuts. No, I need to be DETERMINED to overcome my knee’s weakness and pain.


What is adversity? Adversity is something that makes things difficult. Has this recovery been difficult for me? OH, YES. One night my knee was so painful I gave up trying to “crutch it” and crawled up the stairs to go to bed! During physical therapy, my therapist has to literally push on my knee to try to make it bend more, all the while I am clenching my teeth and trying not to yell at her to leave me alone! I need to work hard to OVERCOME my adversity.

Why do I want to overcome this adversity? All I have to do is look outside and I am reminded that Spring is near. I want to bike again. I want to hike 4,000 foot mountains again. I want to hop into my Civic and drive to school again. Believe it or not, I can’t wait to get back into the classroom and be with ALL of you again!!!

Through this tough time, I have learned and relearned what having grit actually means:

  1. Having grit can be painful.
  2. Having grit requires patience..
  3. Having grit is profitable.

The first two parts of “having grit” on that list are anything but exciting. Who wants pain? Who wants to be patient?  Still, it is that third part of having grit that is worth all of the effort to overcome adversity.  Being patient, knowing that you won’t be able to get what you want right away without working hard, is profitable. Working through the pain to overcome adversity – whether it be emotional, mental, or physical pain – is profitable.


And what do I mean by profitable? Well, I don’t mean having grit is always going to result in earning money (although it certainly can). No, having grit is profitable because it helps you overcome the difficulties in your life to achieve something great. Isn’t that awesome?!? Maybe it is overcoming tough math problems, or overcoming an injury, or overcoming a sad situation in life. You have the ability to overcome all of these adversities!

No matter what, if you can have the patience to wait for success, if you can work through the pain to earn success, you WILL overcome adversity and attain the goal you are seeking. Please be encouraged. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick. But the problems you are dealing with in life right now CAN be overcome. I know you all have grit…you just need to make the decision to use it.

I look forward to seeing you soon, because I am going to work hard to make it happen.


Mr. Smith


P.S. Heard it was PJ and Stuffy Day, so, here you go:

PJ Day


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s