Monday, January 5, 2009

Letter to My Students - January, 2009

January 6, 2009

Dear Future Freshmen,

Here we are again! I told you on the first day of school that this year will absolutely fly by! Your last year of middle school is halfway over already! High school is just around the corner! Just think, by this time next year, you’ll be halfway through your freshman year! High school years are unforgettable! I’ll never forget the four years I spend at Farragut High School. My advice for you is to work hard; do your best because it matters. Your grades matter because they determine whether or not you’ll get in to the college you want. Don’t live with the regret of knowing you could have done better, you just didn’t think it mattered.

I have set several goals for this year. Some are kind of silly, others are serious, and some are just intended to help me be a better person. I try to set my goals in categories.

First, I look at my faith and set goals that will help me grow stronger in my faith. Next, I look at my family. I try to think of ways I can be a better mom to my children and wife to my hubby. This also includes my extended family. For example, I want to send pictures to my grandmother and aunt who live in another city so they can feel like they are a part of our children’s lives. I also set goals related to my health. This is one area that I lack self-discipline. I have decided to allow myself one Coke or soft drink per week (I really want to cut them out entirely). Exercise also falls into this category. Ugh! It’s tough for me to stick to a schedule, but I am committed to walking twice a week. Another area that I want to make changes in is teaching. I want to be the absolute best teacher that I can be. This means I have to constantly be on the look-out for inventive, creative ideas. I also have to be willing to change the way it’s always been done. This can be scary and risky, but I know that growth involves change and if I’m serious about my goal, I have to embrace change. Reading the latest young adult literature is a must for me to be an effective teacher, so I have set goals for reading. My friends are important to me, so I have to work to maintain those relationships to ensure that I don’t get so caught up in my own life that I neglect my friends.

All in all, I have set goals in the following areas:

1. spiritual- This can include spending some time in reflective thought, getting involved in a youth group, praying, talking to your parents about what they believe, etc.

2. personal- This can be anything that YOU want to improve about you. Do you want to have more friends? Did Mission Unstoppable light a fire in you to get involved in our community? What do you need to do to make that happen?

3. physical-How do you want to improve or maintain your health? Exercise and diet are obvious areas, but what about what you put into your mind?

4. professional- Your job is to be a good student. How can you do better in this area? Keep an agenda? Study every night? Read more?

5. intellectual- How can you improve your mind? What kinds of things interest you? How can you feed your mind and improve your academic grades?

6. relational- Do you want to keep in touch with friends more often? How about your relationship with your parents? Do you want to get to know them better? How can you improve your relationships with other people in your life?

Setting so many goals involved some thought and discipline. I realize that I may not meet all the goals that I set, but that’s okay. I can always try again. By setting goals, I chart the direction of my life. Without knowing my course, my life would just evaporate with no purpose or meaning. My life is too important for me to allow that to happen.

I don’t know if you’ve ever given much thought to directing your life in the way in which you want it to go, but get ready, ‘cause you’re going to do it now. In your response back to me, I want you to set at least one goal in each of the areas listed above. Give it some thought. Make your goals meaningful to you. Think about where you’d like to be this time next year and write your goals to help support those dreams.

This grading period, we’ll spend a little time studying “The Bard,” (gotta’ be a smartie to know who that is); and we’ll read a play based on The Diary of Anne Frank. I think you’ll enjoy all of it, but it won’t be easy, so prepare to work hard. Remember what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it.

Here are some tips that will help you succeed in my class this nine weeks. First, always say thank you when I give you something. If you don’t, I will take it back. Reasonable? Second, be as organized as possible. I will do all I can to help you, but the bottom line lies with you. Third, complete your homework on time. Finally, enjoy yourself! Life is all about experiences-the ones you make for yourself and the ones you make for others. Remember to LOVE LIFE!

You may have noticed that I didn’t ask as many obvious questions in this letter. That’s because I think you are now capable of writing back without so many prompts. When you write back to me, tell me about anything you want. This may include your family, your fears or hopes about high school, ideas for our class, etc.

Thank you for being the students you are. Each and every one of you brings something unique to our class. Believe it or not, I missed you guys over the break. I was ready to come back to hear your jokes, stories, adventures, and just see your faces again. Let’s get through the winter blahs by making it better for each other!

Well, I suppose I’d better wind up my letter #3 now. As always, I am anxious to read your responses to me. Unfortunately, I cannot mention any specific names in this letter. Maybe next time… Please give me your best work. This assignment should be fun, yet challenging. If you choose to give me rotten work, I’ll make you do it again. I love you too much to let you be a slacker, so do it right the first time, ‘kay?

In anxious anticipation,

Mrs. Crawford

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