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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Open Letter from a Teacher to a Student

I can see you. Sitting in that chair staring at the clock – and sensing what awaits you on the other side. Knowing the choices that lie ahead of you and coming to terms with the fact that you are solely responsible for your own actions. It’s your decision. I can speak to you or at you, but inevitably it is your choice to hear what it is I am saying. You can pretend not to listen, but deep down I know that you want to.

You await words that ignite your thoughts. You await activities that incite you to grow. You wait for moments that inspire you to change. The things placed in front of you to complete; the words written on the board to consider; the notes left in the margins of the last piece of work you submitted – these things build to a climax. The product of your effort will be knowledge. The direction of your journey is upon you.

What do you have to lose? Even if everything I have to say is boring, you have developed your critical listening skills. Even if every activity I assign is meaningless, you have considered your interests and adhered to them. Even if every mark you receive is disappointing, you have created goals and evaluated them. And when the time comes for you to understand your centrality in the future, what will you accept? Is it easier to sit there and watch the clock or should this be the moment of your awakening?


I need to know that you are there. Your criticism can be my most powerful tool. My job is to prepare you. My role is in front of you. You cannot change me, but I will grow. All those things I learned are subject to your approval after all. You are my audience and I want that call-back. While it may not seem like a song and dance up here; it really is the same. My path may start in front of yours, but I hope that one day you will still see it in your rear-view.

I have signed up for this battle. My tools are laid out in front of you to use. Choose your weapon and draw. We can do this for as long as it takes. I will not back down in my resilience for your potential. I have seen with my own eyes what I can do for a student and I will not accept any less. You do not intimidate me. Your personality (however challenging) is what brings me back and drives my plans for tomorrow. You are my student; I am your teacher. You cannot let me down.

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