• Mr. Armstrong

Week 1. A Letter from Mr. Armstrong

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

Welcome back from the longest Spring Break of all time.

This may or may not surprise you since part of my job this year is to be your new writing teaching, but I have honestly written, deleted, and rewritten this first blog post about a dozen times this week. I'm really struggling with what to say. The right words seem to just be out of reach. They are on the tip of my tongue. The edge of my mind. A blur in the distance (my glasses aren't on in this example).

Or maybe those words don't exist. Maybe there is just no right way to do this. But I still have to try, I guess. We have to start somewhere. Not starting is not an option.

I am writing this post alone in my classroom a few days before my students (that's you) will be coming back to school after five months away. Most of you I've either never met before OR I just met you this week for the first time, depending on when you are reading this.

...Is anyone going to read this?

I suppose it doesn't matter. Writing is a conversation, sometimes with other people but often with ourselves. Even if this is just for me, it still has value.

So here's what I wanted to try and say, the thing I keep dancing around: I am terrified of school starting again. Not because of viruses, quarantines, closures, and all the connected chaos that might be heading our way.

I am terrified that I am going to disappoint you. Teaching has always been one of the most important parts of my identity and my life, but the past five months have taught me just how much having students means to me. I want this class to be worth your time.

It might sound strange, since we don't know each other at all yet, but it's true: my life has been fine without you in it. No offense. But it has also been...less...without you. I think that's the word I've been looking for. I have been less without you around.

Truth, I'm not ready for what this school year is going to bring with it, and I'm guessing you aren't either, but I do know I am done waiting and pacing and second guessing. I am ready for something new, something different.


I promise nothing. I can't guarantee this won't all be a rotten mess. But I am ready to get back to work. Based on this blog post, I clearly have a lot of writing I need to do. Things I need to say. I bet you do too, even if you don't know it yet. (You know it too.) And I have a lot of books to share, and thinking to do, and conversations to have. With you.

I'm looking forward to it.

Even though I'm a nervous wreck of fears right now, I'm gonna go with hope.

I hope

I hope

I hope

you decide to make the same choice. I don't think you will regret it.

-Mr. Armstrong

About Mr. Armstrong

This will be my twelfth year teaching English Language Arts and my fourth working at Carthage High School, which I graduated from in 2005. I love being back in my hometown helping our sophomores find an appreciation for reading and writing while challenging them to discover and develop the value, depth, and power of their own voices. Hopefully this will be a year of daring greatly and learning bravely.