I was humbled and honored to address the teachers and learners of Kronlein Primary School at Friday’s Prestige Awards Ceremony where the top learners and teachers received certificates of achievement and public recognition. There are over 1,000 learners at Kronlein PS and they were a perfect audience. It was so good to see them and their teachers receive recognition. Congratulations to Principal Coetzee and his staff not only for a well-run event, but for the concept they have embraced and implemented so well. https://www.facebook.com/kronleinprimaryschool/
My outline for the presentation:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
These important things you could not choose:
- Where on this planet you were born.
- What year in history you were born.
- Your parents.
Even a few years later you could not choose your
- Immediate environment.
But as we get older we start making our own choices more and more each year. Now – every moment in life we make a choice …and never about the past. Every choice is a change. So have the courage to make good choices.
Because every choice you make is about the future. And not just your future, but the future of all the people that you may connect with over the years. All the people you may influence throughout your life.
That’s exactly what teachers do. And in a very big way. Every day. They make choices to have a positive impact on your future…so that you will have the intelligence and spirit to do the same for the rest of your life for others.
Knowledge is Life. [school’s motto] But teachers don’t give you knowledge. They present knowledge to you on a gold plate. Only you can make the choice to eat or not to eat from that plate. You may understand that reading and writing are important. But those skills and habits you develop today are absolutely the keys to unlocking many doors so that you can enjoy your lives and make the most of your lives.
And who can show you directly to those keys? Your teachers. Please ask yourself, “Do I appreciate my teachers?” Ask, “What do my teachers need?” A few years ago during Teacher Appreciation Week a sampling of teachers were asked what they want most.
1. Teachers want to hear how their teaching connects with their students’ lives.
When a parent asks what you ‘did’ at school today, instead of saying ‘nothing,’ explain something that you learned: what ‘irony’ is, or the definition of ‘resilience’. Could they share a few statistics they read about the history of slavery, or that their shirt was made in a country that utilizes child-labor? “I’d love to know what my learners tell family and friends about our class and their learning – it would really make me smile.”
- Teachers want to have former students contact them.
“Last week as I was sitting at my desk after school, one of my former students walked through my door. He was man-sized! I asked how old he was and what he was doing. He told me 19, and that he was enrolled at the university. Then he said, “You know, I wanted to tell you that I’m actually going there because of your class. When you took us on that field trip to the campus and showed us around, I could picture myself there. It was because of you.” I could hardly hold back the tears. Six years later, for him to come back to tell me that, made my heart swell. It made all the hassle of field trip forms, parent drivers and permission slips worthwhile. For teachers, seeing our students growing up and turning into happy humans is all the appreciation we need.”
- Teachers want to know they matter.
They didn’t start teaching because they felt it was their responsibility to become substitute parents, or because they wanted a lot of money, or to do anything except make a difference in the lives of learners. Teachers are service-oriented professionals who, for the most part, want to earn enough money to support their family, live in their community, and send their own children to college. And at the end of the day they want to know that their tired brains and stacks of papers to grade are worth it because they matter in your life. You cannot overdo it. You cannot thank your teacher too often or show too much appreciation for their hard work, dedication and commitment to your future.
You know, every year has a Teacher Appreciation Week. Make it every week. Pick a day… choices! Tues, Weds, Fri …doesn’t matter, but on that day every week thank your teachers!
So remember, Knowledge is Life… and Education is Gold. Always Go for the Gold [current FB motto].