Every year my students inquire about my Christmas list from Santa. Every year I want to tell them what’s really on my list: a date with Shemar Moore, $1,000 gift card to Nordstrom, Barnes and Noble, Ulta or Amazon.com, and the raise that Miami Dade County Public School promised teachers years ago but never kept.
But I know my students can’t give me that. Instead, I will tell them:
#1 Students, I want you to learn.
It’s no longer sufficient to complete your assignments if you’re not participating in the learning process. Really grasp the concepts that each course offers you. Gain insight from your instructors. The classroom isn’t only between the four walls in the school. The entire world is your classroom. Learn from your experiences. The good ones and the bad ones. Yes, even from those who have broken your heart. There’s a learning lesson in every heart break.
#2 Students, I want you to become critical thinkers like Leonardo di Vinci.
After gaining knowledge, you should use your critical thinking skills to form your own opinions, become your own person. Not go with the flow because it’s cool but stand out with your uniqueness and stand up for your principles and morals. Your biggest gripe is that everyone wants to be like everyone else. If that’s the situation, break the cycle. Use your critical thinking skills to mature into the person you can be proud of when you look at the mirror.
#3 Students, I want you to pay it forward.
You have the power to make a difference in the classroom and in your school. Join community service programs. Take part in community outreach programs. Give to others from the heart not because it will look great on your magnet program application or later on in your college application. Give a smile to your shy classmate.
#4 Students, I want you to love one another.
Respect everyone. Give back what you want to receive in return. Accept one another’s difference. Encourage one another’s dreams. Shower people with praise when they do something good. Be the cheerleader in someone’s life. Think about your classmates. They need you as much as you need them. Support each other. You will be happily surprised by the results. Trust me, my students.
#5 Students, I want you to value yourself.
This is your time to shine. As cliché as it sounds, you’re the future. Just think in a few years, you will be making decisions that will affect the world you live in. But you don’t want to wait that long. Every decision you make now gets you one step closer to the life you want to live as an adult. This is the gift that will keep on giving. Once you acknowledge your value, you will soar. Nothing will seem impossible because you know that you have what it takes to succeed. You’re worth it.
Enjoy today, prepare for tomorrow.
Pursuing your goals with the fortitude and conviction of someone who completely understands his/her true value is a gift that you can give me, yourself, your family and your world.
But if you manage to get Shemar Moore’s phone number, I’ll take that too!
If you’re a teacher, do you agree? What else would you like from your students?