Sunday 11 December 2016
I’ve been utterly immersed in scriptwriting in Final Draft 10 the last few days, and so I find myself lacking a blog post, and to be honest, lacking an idea for a blog post. All of my attention has been on the scene by scene breakdown of this alleged brilliant idea that I had a week or two ago, and now, upon writing the actual script. However, there is one piece of writing that I have done over the last week or so, and that was a letter to the graduating class that I spent time with in Term 3. So, I thought: why don’t I share that letter with you? Obviously, any reference to the educational institution, names of kids and teachers, and anything that will identify people or places, I’ve removed. My point in writing the letter was to let the kids know that teaching and learning flow along a two-way street, and that they teach us as much as we teach them. It’s dated Wednesday 14 December because that’s graduation day, and the someone who ended up in tears of laughter . . . well, that was me.
Anyway, here is the letter to the graduating class of 2016 . . .
Wednesday 14th December, 2016
To the graduating class of 2016,
Wow! What a year you’ve had, and what a 3rd term we had. We, Mrs. W and Ms. M, would like to take a moment to tell you a few things about the term we had with you, and to hopefully pass on a few pieces of advice that we’ve picked up along our paths in teaching. Please take a little time to read these words, and to reflect upon them when you think you might need a bit of encouragement or support.
First and foremost, even though we might have grumbled at you – a lot – because of the noise, or because you took longer to finish tasks than we expected, you really were a delightful group of people to teach. Your individual personalities shone within the classroom, and we were so pleased to have the privilege of watching you grow in skill and self-confidence, in humour and leadership, and more importantly, as people, the future leaders of and contributors to our society.
It would be remiss of us not to mention that it wasn’t just we teachers who worked you hard during 3rd term; you, as students, made sure that we worked hard as well. As your teachers, we wanted to ensure that we taught you to the best of our abilities. We wanted to be able to say that at the end of Term 3, you had improved your knowledge and skills, that you’d been encouraged to learn everything that you possibly could in every single Learning Area, and guess what? You did it. We were able to say that because, as a team, we worked together to achieve that goal. Go you! Look at what you can do when you set your minds to achieve a goal.
It’s not only the students in a class that learn throughout the school year, but the teachers as well. You made us question our teaching techniques. You made us refine our teaching skills. You made us think carefully about how we worked with you not only as a class of students, but as individuals. You made us research ideas and concepts so that we could help you all to learn and to get along with one another. You challenged us to be better educators. In short, you changed the way we approach teaching. Thank you for pushing us out of our comfort zones so that we, just like you, had to adapt and adjust to the learning and teaching environment in order to give you the education you deserved.
Some of the highlights of Term 3 for us were the times we ended up in fits of laughter. Thinking back on 3rd term, there were quite a few times when the humour of situations got the better of us, and some of us ended up in tears of laughter . . . more than once . . . for prolonged periods of time. Laughter makes for a great class environment, and we were delighted that you could see the funny side of things and join us as we made silly faces, joked about telling news, told lame jokes, and all of those other silly and funny things that we got up to. Don’t ever lose your sense of humour. There’ll be days when you need it more than others, and there’ll be days when laughing will be what gets you through to the end of the day. Laugh often, every day if it’s possible, because when you laugh, you’ll draw people to you, and the more people you have around you to give support, the more successful you’ll be.
Now the advice bit. There will be times when you think everything is just too hard to deal with. These are the days when you really need to remember: to find the funny side of things; cry if you feel like it, it doesn’t mean you’re weak; eat that extra piece of chocolate or pizza or whatever food you love most; go for a run; talk to a friend or family member; think about the good times; listen to great music; smile; believe in yourself the same way we believe in you; look up to the stars; imagine; be great, no, be awesome; support each other; don’t lose touch with friends; be a friend to someone; embrace change; embrace challenges; don’t give up, no matter how much you feel like giving up, just don’t; trust yourself to make the right choices in life; be happy; experience as much of the world as you possibly can – it’s big and beautiful, and you deserve to experience it, just as it deserves to know you; read widely; watch great movies; strive for greatness; you are good enough, you’ve always been good enough; set goals and achieve them; work harder than you ever thought you’d be able to work; keep learning; accept help even if you don’t think that you need it; love and be loved; be you because no one else can do it as well as you do; listen to your teachers; listen to your parents; don’t be afraid to question things; it’s okay to fail, just make sure you give it another go; you’re a <insert school name> student; be kind to others; and no matter what, just try.
The final thing we’d like to leave you with is this: you made us proud of you. For a single term, you were our kids, just like you were Mrs. T’s kids for the other 3 terms. Always, always remember that. We are proud of you, and no doubt, we’ll think of you often and with fond memories of our term with you. If you see us in the street, or later in your life when we’re old and grey and shuffling along with our Zimmer frame, don’t hesitate to stop us and say hello, and let us know how you’re going. We’ll be thrilled to hear of your achievements, your successes, your life in general.
All the best for high school and beyond. Keep making us proud.
Mrs. W Ms. M