A letter sent home to students by a Texas teacher to make them feel better during testing week quickly went viral online, and as a result, a Massachusetts teacher who inspired the letter back in 1999 is speaking out.
In 1999, Mary Ginley, a teacher in Massachusetts, wrote an open letter to students in a local paper with the hopes it would ease their stress about upcoming exams.
“Please remember strangers gave you these scores. And remember there are many ways of being smart,” Ginley wrote. “These strangers do not know that you can play the violin or dance or paint a picture. They do not know that you take care of your little brother after school, that your friends can count on you, that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day.”
Just recently, a teacher in Texas wrote an updated version of the 1999 letter to her students, and when it caught the attention of website Momastery, it went viral soon after being posted on its Facebook page.
“The STAAR test does not asses all of what makes each of you special and unique,” Texas teacher Mrs. Brown wrote in the modern version of the 16-year-old letter. “The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way I do, and certainly not the way your families do.”
Soon after the Texas letter went viral, the daughter of the original letter’s author stumbled upon it and shared a shot of her mother’s letter from 1999.
“My mom wrote this original letter (and has the copyright) back in 1999!!” Erin Kathleen commented. “We’re so excited this letter is still being shared after all these years, though it upsets us that it’s still necessary and these ridiculous tests are still around.”
Someone in the comments asked Kathleen for permission to use letter and give credit to Ginley. Ginley herself wrote back with an heartwarming response.
“If you want, you can put a sentence AFTER the letter saying ‘Someone named Mrs. Ginley wrote a letter like this many years ago,’” Ginley commented. “But you don’t need to do that. The letter belongs to everyone now.”
The Texas teacher’s letter has been shared on Facebook nearly 284,000 times since being posted last week.
Photo Source: News.com.au