As your students are graduating from middle school (or high school), it’s both an exciting and scary time for them. You may not realize it, but they are going to remember you forever. You may have just seen yourself as their teacher of science, math, English, health or something else, but to them, you are a part of their life during their most influential, mold-able years. Your interaction with them will carry on with them long after the intellectual knowledge you gave them.
So don’t forget to take a step back and look at these kids-becoming-adults and remind them of where they’ve been, where they are, and where they’re going. And let them know you are rooting for them, for that acknowledgement will take them a long way. Below is a letter one of our teachers shared with her students, and we thought this was worth sharing with you. Feel free to adapt it and make it your own!
Dear 8th Graders,
Remember this day, and the days that led up to it, and the days that are coming, as best you can. Remember the sounds of the lockers, the songs on the radio, the cost of your favorite candy bar, the laughs shared between you and your closest friends. Remember the excitement you have imagining your first year of high school, and the anxiety you have of finishing your eighth-grade year. Remember the outfit you wore to graduation, and the pictures you took with your friends. Oh, and the print of those pictures. Don’t just let them collect dust electronically. Someday you’ll want to look back and cherish these memories, and remember these instances that would otherwise drift off into nowhere land and be forgotten. These are times to remember – the good, the bad, and the unknown of what’s to come.
Love who you are. Confidence isn’t just a feeling, it’s an asset. You own it. That’s why we have confidence. You may not always feel confident, and that’s OK; you’re human. You don’t have to give it away, it’s yours to have and keep. Sometimes the things we have get lost, but it doesn’t mean those things are not ours anymore. They stay in our hearts, whether we can feel them or not. So don’t forget you always have confidence. But just like the other things we own, it’s more fun to use it than hide it away and never see it again.
If you haven’t already, someday you’ll learn that confidence is the most attractive feature of a person – and let me tell you, you are beautiful. Outside and in. If you don’t believe it, it’s time to find your confidence again. You might have stored it away in a safe place, and now is a great time to pull it back out of hiding. If you’re having trouble finding it, ask yourself when was the last time you were overcome with joy and excitement over something you did. You might have gotten an A on a test, maybe you saved your brother from getting in trouble, maybe you made your best friend smile on a bad day. Go back to that place, and you’ll find your confidence!
I’ve seen you when you’re not afraid to do what’s right; to say what you feel and stand up for yourself. There will come times in high school where that’s not always easy to maintain, but trust in yourself that you’ve made good decisions and know what’s right in your heart, and you can do it again.
If I could give you a piece of advice: take one of your notebooks from this school year – use the one from my class – and once class is over, use it as a journal. I was given a journal as a gift once, and I found it as my opportunity to express my thoughts and feelings in a safe way. Before my journal, I didn’t have a great outlet. One journal led to another, and through them I’ve really gotten to know myself – what my dreams and goals are, what scares me, what I want to give the world during my lifetime. It’s always neat to look back and read what your life was consumed with while you wrote init, and see how it changes over the years. And maybe, just maybe, someday when you’re my age, you’ll come back and share some of those stories with me – your 8th grade teacher who drove you crazy with those Friday quizzes.
Enjoy your last days of the school year, and thanks for all you do in shaping our future adults!
The Dignity Revolution Team
(written by contributor Andee Vosters)