A Farewell Letter To Year 11
Today my Year 11 students left to go on study leave so I wrote them a letter which I put in coloured envelopes and sealed with sweets. Their reaction when I brought out the envelopes was insane! All I’d done was put their name on the envelopes with some stickers – yes it was time-consuming for 30 of them but they really appreciated it.
They opened the envelopes all at the same time and then I read the letter out to them. I’ve pasted it below if you want to read it! I teach all girls so some parts are quite girl-specific…
Dear Year 11,
I have thought long and hard about what words to send you away into the world with. As an English teacher, such things are important to me and I can think of nothing better than to tell you some of the things I wish I had been told when I was in Year 11…so here we go.
There are some obvious basics. Never wear green and red together. No matter what the fashion magazines tell you those colours don’t go. Cutting your own fringe is a risky strategy. Your hand probably isn’t as steady as you think it is. Also, never trust anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between a Shakespearean and a Petrarchan sonnet. If you meet someone you like who doesn’t know the difference, teach them.
A more complicated topic to advise you on is that of your destiny. Or so it might seem. In fact, it’s quite straightforward: if there’s something you want in life you can have it. Honestly. This is not a trick. Want to be a Prime Minister? Research routes into parliament. Want to own a restaurant? Take a course in catering. It might take you a little longer to get it sometimes and it might not always be the same as you imagined it in your head but so what? As long as you get access to what makes you happy that’s what counts. So don’t let trifling little things like time, money and fear of failure get in your way. That’s just boring.
Finally, I want you all to go away with the knowledge that no one thing and no one relationship defines YOU. You are complicated. You may, at times, be contradictory. You will make some good choices in your life and some bad choices, the bad choices do not make you a bad person. Learn from them. Grow from them. Become better because of them. Don’t let society define you through what type of jeans you wear, what university you attend or if you decide to get married and have children. There are a whole host of relationships to be had in this world. Cultivate your relationship with art, literature, travel, history, friends and family. Most important of all however, cultivate a strong relationship with yourself. Be your own champion. There is only one person with you from the very beginning to the very end and that is YOU. Take care of her. She needs you to take care of her when nobody else can and she deserves to be taken care of.
In closing, if you ever have a day when you feel like nobody believes in you remember that there is and will always be at least one person who does: Mrs P!
All the best,