A Blog Covering D.C. Education [ABCDE]

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 20 2009

A Letter Assignment and a Response

I recently taught my students how to write formal letters.  As a homework assignment, I asked them to draft a letter addressed to Michelle Rhee, on a topic of their choice.  Students wrote about a number of things, including broken windows, “mice turds in the back of the class,” the disgusting cafeteria, the Reduction in Force, and the internet filter.  RW, however, wrote something to which I felt I had to respond (even though I am not Michelle Rhee). I wrote him a letter back.  Both are below:

October 18, 2009 

Hello Michelle Rhee,

My name is RW and I attend [__] Senior High School and I am in the 11th.  I’ve been attending [__] since the ninth grade.  During my years at [__] I have acomplished many thing at [__].  First I join [__]‘s Robotics team (does not exist anymore) because our instructor left.  I learned alot from that program.  We build a robot which we used in F.i.r.s.t which stand “for inspiration and tenology”.  I have been in the program for 2 years and I will never forget the things we acomplished during those two years.  The reason why I am telling you this is because our school is great and we have bad days but were we good school.

Sincerely, RW



October 20, 2009 

Dear R,

I appreciate the letter draft that you wrote to Michelle Rhee.  I am sorry to hear that you are saddened that the old robotics instructor left the school . I know that robotics meant a lot to you.

I have a secret to share with you though: although the long-time instructor left last year, the robotics team is being resurrected.  It appears that you don’t know this yet, but I’ve volunteered to be the robotics team coach for the year.  Although I have no experience building robots, I’m excited by the idea of helping you and the other [__] Robotics team members build robots for the Robotics F.I.R.S.T. competition.

I’m still figuring out the details about how or when I will take charge.  But, I’ll make sure that I help you build on–even more!–what you have already done for 2 years.

Sincerely, Mr. K


Countless 2nd-year CMs tell us that taking on a leadership position in our first year is a terrible idea.  I can understand why!  However, since the beginning of the year, my principal has been pleading for someone at our school to carry on the robotics team.  No one has stepped up.  I’ve heard that the robotics team is the most popular extracurricular.  I couldn’t allow that piece of their lives to be missing.  So I’m stepping in to fill the hole.

I know almost nothing about robots except what I know from watching Transformers.  Also, I’m good at building Legos because I built many when I was younger.  That’s it…

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3 Responses

  1. I agree, but I’m not so sure about what you said at the beginning. Where are you getting your information? I’m not disagreeing, but I’m just wondering how you came to that conclusion.

    Justin Davis
    Author does not represent the position of LSI, which screens content as an internet filter to K-12 institutions.

  2. Erin

    FIRST is an incredible program. I was lucky enough to work with the DC and Northern Virginia teams this past summer and I HIGHLY recommend you taking it on. There are also mentors you can get to help you with some of the aspects of the team. If you want more information about getting a mentor for your team, feel free to contact me.

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Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

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