Welcome to your senior year. Students, this is your opportunity to really prepare for the next phase of your lives, seriously thinking about the kind of students you want to be and become in the future.
It no longer matters who you were in the past and the mistakes you have made; this year is about establishing who you will be.
So choose wisely and get ready to jump in with your full being to the learning journey we are about to embark upon.
The AP Literature class you will be taking is a rigorous one that promises to both challenge and prepare you for that chapter of your lives I was talking about. Traditionally, students think that senior year is supposed to be an easy one that can be dialed in after the work put forth since freshman year, but I don't believe that to be true. I'm not saying don't have a good time with your newfound, almost-freedom, but I'm saying I wouldn't be doing you a favor to let you slack off.
I want you to feel prepared for what comes next once you are on your own.
That all being said, I'm so excited to have you all in my classroom. You will be given a syllabus with due dates of all assignments for the entire year. Please don't lose it. You will be expected to go over it by the first day of class and adhere to this schedule as you will have to adhere to the syllabus in college.
You will have minimal reminders.
As adults, you must be responsible for your choices and your work. At the beginning of the year, I will be likely to reach out to parents after I talk with you first. I want to treat you like college students, and therefore you will need to reach out to me when you need help. I am here to help you and want to help, but tracking you down is not how it works when you get to college.
You must be accountable for your actions. No more excuse; only choices with possible outcomes. You control those choices. I will support you while you figure out your next steps.
Now, this letter isn't meant to scare you, only prepare you. In addition to the responsibility, there will be fun new learning experiences that will push your thinking in ways you may never have experienced. We won't be looking for the one right answer but rather a plethora of possible solutions that only you can imagine. Collaboration with peers will be a hallmark of the class, as will using social media and blogging.
Your voices matter and they will be amplified in our learning space.
Curiosity through your questions will be explored and celebrated. Growing through mistakes and taking chances will be rewarded. Don't be afraid to say what you think something means, because as long as you can see it and prove it, then we'll go with it.
Looking forward to creating an engaging learning environment with each of you filled with varied personalities and perspectives you each bring.
Welcome to your senior year,
Ms. Sackstein, NBCT
*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in August 2015