Dear soon-to-be seventh-graders:
By the time you read these words, your summer vacation will have started. Relax. Go to the beach. Watch zombie movies. You’ve earned a break from the grind called school. But just because I’m not officially your teacher anymore doesn’t mean I can’t offer some additional teacherly advice.
Keep reading. For many of you, this is a no-brainer. I often had to compete with a book for your attention, and that’s a problem every teacher would love to have. So I’m not worried about you.
But for those who said, “I hate to read, it’s boring!” take time to think about what interests you and find books, magazines, newspaper articles or Internet sites to feed your interest. I say “feed” because that’s what reading is — food for the brain.
Most of what I know — and taught you — is knowledge gained from reading. In my 12 years of public schooling, I can count the great teachers I had on one hand. My list of the truly great books I’ve read is at least 10 times that number. Getting a great teacher is luck. A great book is simply waiting to be picked up and read.
It’s time to start finding your passions. What do you really like? What are you really good at? When you discover a passion, follow it, because it will give your life depth and meaning. Listen to that little voice in your head, or that feeling in your gut that says, “Hey, I think this is for me.
I first started thinking about becoming a teacher 36 years ago when I was still in college, working at a day camp during my summer break. I discovered I was pretty good with kids. I made them laugh, and they listened to me, at least most of the time. It took a while, but I eventually listened to that voice and made teaching my career.