I’m so excited! I can’t help it. For me, school started on Monday, but you have almost a week to wait. I’m sure you will soak up everything you can in your last week of summer. I’m also sure you’re dreading Monday morning and the start of a new school year. I remember. It wasn’t long ago at all when I was where you are.
This may surprise you, but you teach me just as much as I teach you. Sometimes you even teach me more. You teach me what it means to be compassionate. Some of you are dealing with more than any teenager in the world should have to deal with and you will never be able to understand how much that breaks my heart. Some of you don’t realize how incredible you are and what you are capable of. A lot of you teach me that I am capable of more than I ever believed possible. You show me how much I can care about people. You teach me that not everyone is the same, and that is a beautiful thing.
I promise to be a teacher you can trust, as well as someone you can talk to or go to for anything you need. Here is what I need from you:
- I need you to come to me with an open mind. Be prepared to learn. Don’t assume that I have nothing to teach you. Don’t assume that you will never be interested in anything we do in class. I might surprise you.
- I need you to remember that education is a privilege. You are blessed to live in a country that provides you with free education. Not everyone has that right. Some people have to fight for the right to learn how to read and write. (Ever heard of Malala Yousafzai?) You won’t always like what you do in school, but realize that this is an important stepping stone to the rest of your future. Regardless of what you plan on doing with your life, what you learn in high school will help pave the way for that aspiration.
- I need you to understand that it won’t always be easy. Some of you already understand this. Some of you have to fight for everything you have. But there are those of you who are used to things being easy for you. There are those of you who have never had to study, never had to worry, and never known what it means to want. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, it only becomes a problem when you start thinking you shouldn’t have to work to succeed. Success comes at a cost. Sometimes that cost is giving up a night out with your friends to study for an exam. Sometimes success means missing the big game to finish a term paper. There will be times when my class, or any of your classes, will be hard. Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t get angry. Don’t assume that the system is broken or that the teacher is a jerk just because you are having trouble understanding. But most importantly, don’t assume you are stupid. I promise you, you’re not. Some things will be more difficult for you than for others, and that’s ok. You will have to work harder at some things. Just remember, “perseverance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:4).
- I need you to remember that I am here. I am here for you. I want you to succeed. I will help you however I can. I want you to grow into the best person you can be. I care about you.
I am so excited to meet you next week. I hope that you can see past your dread of summer ending and find something to be excited about, too.