Monday, September 2, 2013

An Open Letter to my 10th Graders

Dear 10th Graders,

First of all, I’d like to congratulate you all for exerting the best of your efforts during the First Quarter. I know that, for most of you, the recently concluded grading period was a battle that you fought for. I am fully aware of the struggles that you went through and I would like to let you know that I did my best to come to blows and win the fight with you in meeting the expectations set by your parents, the school, your teachers
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and the society in general.

We started the quarter with a lesson on functions which, for some of you, was an alien term that was trying to invade your teenage imagination. Yet, I am glad that many of you still embraced the lesson with enthusiasm and optimism that you will eventually get through the entire chapter fully understanding what this mathematical term is all about. I was happy to see you climbing one stair at a time understanding the mathematical concepts and mastering the mathematical operations involved. Although you had a bit of difficulty figuring out the range and domain of a function, you were able to prove among yourselves that there are always ways in getting the correct answer and coming up with the correct solution. Finally, you were able to determine the graph of functions in general and you were ready to proceed to the simplest form of functions, which is, linear function.

I know. I do fully know that another set of challenges blew your minds as we ventured for first degree functions. There, we encountered slopes, intercepts as we tackled the graphs of linear functions. You learned about the applications of linear functions in the real world and started to apply the knowledge you’ve gained to a more useful real-life situation. The output that I asked from you might be more dreadful than what you have expected but I did it not do it to give you more burdens but to let you learn better in a more engaging and evidenced-based way. I know that some of you thought that you couldn’t do it but, once and for all, you have proven to yourselves that you are more capable than what you have imagined. Those moments when you told me that I was wrong. Those moments when you asked me why a positive number became negative. Those moments when you expressed your expectations for me – I value all those moments. Those moments reminded me that there is an individual within you that is hungry for knowledge and is waiting for explanations. Those moments reminded me that you are all capable of learning at a certain point and at a certain time given the support that you need. Please continue to let me know what your expectations and frustrations are for I am here to respond to those and not act against those expectations and frustrations.       

I encourage you to play with your imagination and go back to the time when you first stepped the welcoming doors of your first schools. I know you felt excited to learn something new and meet new friends. You entrusted yourselves to your teachers and gave your full admiration to them for teaching you the things you never learned before. Back then, you did not let the lessons you had define yourselves but you defined every lesson you encountered the way you see it and the way you see the world. You were not worried about your grades and about you learning too much. All you had to do was grab every learning opportunity and be happy about yourselves. In the end, you learned a lot and gained new perspectives of the world you live in. Apparently, you all made it to high school without much of a thought on what the world would think about you and what your grades would look like.

Then you grew older and started to define the world not as how you see it but as how other people see it too. You became so worried about your grades more than your own learning that you started to think of strategies to get through the system. There were times wherein you thought of using tactics that would even compromise your long-term benefits and, worse, your values. You became more concerned about what your friends would think about you rather than what you think about yourselves. 

As you embark another journey of your last year in high school, I hope that you will not forget to revisit the goals that you have set for yourselves. I hope that you will not forget the very reason you have had for coming to school. I hope that you will not waste the last year of your high school by failing the expectations of your parents who work harder than what they could probably do just to provide your needs including the best education that you could ever have. Of course, do not forget to have fun. As much as I would like to see you seriously taking your learning, I would also like to see you making the best out of your last year in high school. After all, you only get into this stage but once.

We’ve been together in this institution for less than two months but, honestly, I am very happy that I became part of this academic institute and your life as a learner. We have three more quarters to work on before you will finally say goodbye to your school and I am hoping that this will be one of your best years in this institution. I am looking forward to a more fruitful knowledge exchange with you. I would like to reassure you that I am going to do my best to end the game hitting our class goal: SUCCESS for EVERYONE. However, I can only be as good as your frequent feedback. Tell me what works for you and we will work on it together.

Teacher Phil     

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