Every school morning I have the pleasure of 10-15 minutes with my Grade 8 homeroom, I am also fortunate enough to teach them PE as well. I wanted to write an open letter to them, but figured it might be best to blog and share my experiences with them and their families this year.
Dear G8HP students,
As June rolls around and we begin to count down til Summer, I wanted to write to you and share some of my observations of you as a group and to celebrate you all and the work you have achieved as Grade 8 students.
Leadership is a fickle beast and it can be challenging to think about the kind of leader you are – when you look at your collaborative units or plans or you play in teams or you work independently take a moment to consider who are your role models? Who inspires you to be the person you are and then consider how these people lead. Leadership is multi-faceted, it requires you to consider your own needs as well as the others you are working with or for and often we see leaders abused or bullied or harassed for their beliefs. But it is the concepts or the ways in which they work that I encourage you to consider. Each one of you have shown leadership in our class this year. You have led a group in dance, in poetry, in problem solving or in coaching and in lots of other ways. You have either facilitated, dictated, organised or you have supported and given assurance to leadership qualities in others and strengthened your group because of your actions. You have coached and shared knowledge, you have asked for guidance and worked to be better and to expect more and I fully commend you for these traits as a group. It is not everyday that I have worked with such a strong class as this one.
August brought us together as a homeroom and it was very clear where the social lines were drawn. Our seating arrangements have changed little, and this is is par for the course in Middle school, but this has not been the case throughout the year in our PE class. You have started crossing the social lines to work with a variety of students – male, female, friend, foe, social equal or not, athlete, geek, cool kid, new, old, nationality, this is a testament of your strength as a group and your commitment to each other, I hope you will be as open-minded, caring and resourceful as you start High School next year.
Knowlege and being a bit geeky can be understated and under-valued but not by this homeroom group. Not only have you banded together to collaborate and assist each other but you have developed the skill of asking questions in earnest of each other. Aren’t sure of the answer to an academic question? Come and ask us, over 60% of this HR got a GPA of 5.75 (out of 7) or more, and they know who is best to ask. Playing an invasion Game? come and ask someone – over 60% of 8HP represented UNIS at some sort of sport meet, a small number of them have represented multiple times in different sports. And 30% are academically strong as well as represent in sport, dance or music – pretty amazing for a group of 20 students. Continue to ask and to answer other people’s questions, never judge a question, we are all seeking knowledge and growing as people, you can add to other’s experiences in a positive and open way – I hope you will!
Setting goals can be arduous at the age of 14. When I talk to adults or other teachers we struggle with making meaningful goals and then working around them. As I have suggested to you when you set exercise based goals, try and set the bar in the middle – you should meet your goals about half of the time and then miss half the time. Hopefully when you miss it isn’t by too much but it teaches you about your limits and where you are growing. If you always meet every goal, then you aren’t really challenging yourself. We set goals in our class. We talk about them, we reflect on them and we decide on new challenges ahead. I am proud of the goals that most of you set in PE through out the year and I have been excited by discussing the goals you have ahead of you. I hope you will enjoy this process more and more and learn about the people that you are. keep blogging and sharing your goals and your work towards them, this is very powerful and as you progress to the DP or other senior program, people will want to know what inspires you and how your work towards your personal and academic goals. Go Team!
What day is it? What class do we have? What is due today? Are commonly asked questions by some of you.. and others are always there to answer and check up on you. As with any group some of you are not blessed to be organised but you always know who to ask… and those who are highly organised, we thank you! Please remain patient, keep smiling and answering, you are very giving and those of us who don’t always know need you!
Grade 8 is a pivotal year for you, you develop from immature G7’s to the start of being G9’s. You grow up and mature and with that comes a huge spike in confidence. You guys have really inspired those around you with your mature problem solving abilities, the way you move forward with work and ask questions or demands of more time, evidence or whatever is required for stellar work. You are ready for HS in so many ways and I hope that UNIS HS is ready for you!
Lastly you are a fun class and I love being around you all. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching and learning from you and witnessing the development of the group that you are. You are easy going souls but hard working with demanding expectation of us as teachers. You want more and expect more but enjoy what comes to you easily and naturally. You challenge us constantly but this is what teachers dream of from a group. The Twittersphere knows about you and how awesome you are and you will be loved by teachers next year and missed by those who had the pleasure this year.
Whevever you go next, thank you for all the mornings this year. I will miss you and recall our time in class together with affection. To those leaving, good luck and happy travels. We hope to hear from you again. There is lots to accomplish in your life-times, you have added an amazing chapter this year, continue to embrace it fully!