An Indiana teacher's moving letter to her students reminding them that they are much more than any test score is going viral.
Mom Abby Fallis shared the letter on social media on Friday. She explained that her son Rylan had been so overwhelmed by his third-grade teacher’s note that he’d burst into tears in school.
“He told me he cried because he was happy about a letter his teacher gave his class before they take ISTEP,” Fallis wrote on Facebook, referring to the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress, a standardized test. “Needless to say, when I read it, I cried too. We need not just more teachers like her, but also more people like her in this world.”
Fallis told Buzzfeed that the letter had greatly comforted her son, who had been feeling anxious about the upcoming tests.
“When it comes from your teacher, and it’s something that’s so poignant, it really stuck with him,” said Fallis, pictured below with her two sons, Rylan and his younger brother, Greyson.
As The Huffington Post reported last year, notes similar to this one have made the rounds before. In 1999 Mary Ginley, a teacher at Buckton Vale Primary School in England, expressed these encouraging sentiments to her students, and her letter has become something of a model for other teachers around the world.
Read the teacher's letter in its entirety here:
Next week you will take your ISTEP test for math and reading, and two weeks after that you will take your IREAD test. I know how hard you have worked, but there is something very important you must know.
The ISTEP and IREAD tests do not assess all of what makes you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you like I do, and certainly not the way your families do.
They do not know that some of you speak two languages, or that you love to sing or draw. They have not seen your natural talent for dancing. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them, that you laughter can brighten the darkest day, or that your face turns red when you feel shy. They do not know that you participate in sports, wonder about the future, or sometimes you help with your little brother or little sister after school. They do not know that you are kind, trustworthy, and thoughtful… and every day you try your very best.
The scores you will get from these tests will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything. These tests do not define you. There are many ways of being smart. YOU are smart! You are enough! You are the light that brightens my day and the reason I am happy to come to work each day. So, in the midst of all of these tests, remember that there is no way to “test” all of the amazing and awesome things that make you, YOU.
All I ask is that you do your personal best and do not give up. You have been working for this since Kindergarten and are ready! I believe in you!
This article has been updated with additional information about the history of the letter.