This Ontario high school teacher mailed handwritten letters to each of her 80 students. Here’s why

January 14, 2022
This Ontario high school teacher mailed handwritten letters to each of her 80 students. Here's why

An Ontario high school teacher wanted her students to know someone cared about them during this challenging start to the year, so this month, she mailed a handwritten letter to each of them. 

“I wanted to put a smile on their face,” said Iman Al-Areibi, who teaches three classes at H.B. Beal Secondary School in London.

“As I was writing these, I could see the end product and I could see how they’re going to feel once they receive that letter when their name is on it.”

Al-Areibi mailed out 60 last week and another 20 this week.

Many of Al-Areibi’s students have been thanking her over email, she said.

“It made me feel like I did do something that really made a difference for these students at a time that we’re locked down and we’re losing connections,” she said.

Al-Areibi sent personalized letters, including this one to Meredith Lewkowitz, to 80 students this January. (Submitted by Shawna Lewkowitz)

Meredith Lewkowitz, one of the students who received a personalized note, expressed appreciation for the teacher’s kindness.

“The card meant a lot as it showed how much she cares about us as students and our well-being,” Meredith said.

In part, the letter from her teacher reads: “I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for an amazing year so far. Thank you for your hard work and contributions to our class and school community. Thank you for being you!”

Al-Areibi said the letters aim to offer the students comfort as COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyday life.

“I wanted them to feel like things are going to be OK,” said the teacher, who is excited students will be back in the classroom on Monday after a late start to the 2022 session because of Ontario’s pandemic rules.

Meredith says the letter from her teacher ‘showed how much she cares about us as students and our well-being.’ (Submitted by Meredith Lewkowitz)

“I know how hard it’s been for them and losing those connections with friends,” she said. “We do still feel a little nervous about schools being safe for everyone, but we trust the process and our school board and how hard they’re working.” 

Monday will be an easy day, with lots of chatting, Al-Areibi said.

“I have a lot of activities planned out just to get those relationships building skills back.”

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