(Lake Tahoe, Nevada)
Window To the Future
Tomorrow is the last day of my 34 year teaching career. I was asked to give the commencement address, and since I have been sharing here recently, I decided to post it.
This is dedicated to my last 8th grade class...
8th Grade Promotion, IMS
June 12, 2013
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been in this school for three years and Ms. T is STILL talking.
“Come on, 8th graders, move it, get to class. Edgar, not so loud, Emily – phones outside only, Bryan, take off your hat in the halls, good morning, Danny.”
Quite a few years ago, I was sitting right where you’re sitting, on a hot June evening at Albert’s Field in San Rafael, California waiting to graduate from 8th grade and get on with my life.
And now, after 34 years of teaching I’m getting ready to move on to a new chapter of my life and you are just beginning your books; how incredibly exciting (and maybe a little scary) for all of us!
Someday, you’ll be standing right where I’m standing now. Oh, it probably won’t be in the Incline Middle School Gym on a hot June afternoon. But, you’ll be standing looking back over the paths you’ve taken in your life, paths you are embarking on today.
Maybe you’ll have had a career as a doctor, a soccer player, a teacher or a musician. Whoever you are and whatever you become, will be built on the paths you take and the decisions you make from now on. YOU are responsible for your path, wherever it takes you in life. You hold the power to succeed or not. It’s up to you.
I find bits wisdom in lots of places… just last night the tag on my Yogi Bedtime Tea bag said “You can run after success, but true satisfaction comes from within.” A card at Trader Joes said to follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice and “scatter joy.” So here are a few of Ms. T’s words of wisdom:
1. Above all and always – be kind. What goes around comes around and we are ALL in need of kindness; the good you spread will come back to you when you need it most.
2. Give back. We get, we earn, we work hard for what we have. But, always save room in your heart to give back to the world, your nation and your fellow man and woman. You will be richer for it. I know that as a teacher, what I have given has returned to me a thousand fold and there are no words to describe the joy that brings.
3. Listen at least as much as you talk – I know, this is one I continue to work on myself. But, you’d be amazed what you learn when you listen with your heart and not just your head.
4. Do the right thing even when the easy way out is calling your name. Get off your behind and just do it. I know it can be tough, but it’s worth it, trust me on that one.
5. Be grateful. If you didn’t have to walk five miles for clean water today, you have blessings in your life – don’t forget to count them regularly.
6. Pursue your passion, whatever that turns out to be. Stay open to discovering new ones and never, ever stop learning. My dad told me that the day you stop learning is the day you die and I believe that with all my heart.
7. Be yourself. Don’t let others define you; sometimes it takes courage to step out of conformity and be authentically you. You won’t be truly happy until you do.
8. Don’t give up. Just don’t. You know you can do anything you put your heart into.
9. Always remember that you and everyone around you is worthy of being loved. Period. No exceptions.
So, get out there and show the world just how wonderful we all know you are. Good luck and thank you for the allowing me the privilege to speak to you, my last group of 8th graders. I wish you all the best and know my heart goes with you all. I love you all.
If I can still talk through the tears I will sing...
But I see your true colors
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow...
Wendy: Totally Inspirational... thanks for sharing! WOW!