Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What would you say?

A milestone passed, new things begun, dreams as shining as the sun, a goal achieved, a victory won!
As I sat through another graduation on Saturday evening, it gave me pause for reflection.  I watched the faces of the students, beaming with excitement as they finished one chapter in their lives and were looking forward to another.  I watched the faces of the parents, filled with pride and perhaps a bit of angst.  My own emotions were a mix of happiness, pride, and perhaps astonishment over how quickly the years have passed with these kids that I have grown to love.

While I contemplated how fast the past four years had moved, the Class Orator began delivering his speech.  This young man is academically brilliant; his wisdom way beyond his years.  He is talented and well-rounded, but somewhat shy.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  He began by welcoming everyone, then sheepishly explained how he had been filled with anxiety trying to figure out what he would speak about.  He explained that he was having difficulty and had no ideas up until the night before.  Then he explained how he finally found his topic and how it flowed easily from that point. 

In his sixth grade year, one of his teachers had her students write a letter to their 12th grade selves as a writing assignment.  She kept the letters they wrote.  This year, she gave each student the letter they had written as a sixth grade student.  Our class speaker had not read his letter until the night before graduation.  He had wanted to read that when he felt it would be most signifcant to him.  He read excerpts from that letter in his speech and expounded on a variety of topics, including some of the differences, some of the similarities, and the growth between that 6th grade student and the 12th grade student.  It was truly one of the of the better speeches I've heard in a commencement excercise....and I've been to a lot of them over the years.  I wish I had a copy of it that I could paste here for all to read.  It encompassed wit, humor, intelligence, forsight, and wisdom that it often takes people a lifetime to gain.  He did an exceptional job and it prompted a lot of converstation after graduation. 

I think the concept of a letter to your future self was a brilliant assignment from the teacher that taught these kids in 6th grade.  I know it was also something those same kids treasured when given the letter as they were preparing for their graduation.

Have you ever had a similar assignment or done something like this on your own?  If so, how did it unfold?   Did it give you insight or teach you anything?   If you had to write a letter to your "future self" now, what would you say?  I would love to hear your ideas/feedback.      



  1. It does sound like a wonderful exercise. I once had my students write a time capsule and asked them to send me a note about what they are up to after they open it. I didn't get any notes from anyone but one kid was in contact with my daughter and told her that he'd opened it.


  2. I love those assignments that are "outside the box". I believe an important thing to teach in education is the ability to THINK and REASON.

    I hate that you never heard from any of the students. It would be interesting to have their feedback.