Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dear Future Self: Building Relationships and Community with Students

Creating a community of learners and building relationships with students is vital for student success. As humans we need to feel cared for, valued, and appreciated for what we bring to the table. I often say you are a member of the agent force for a lifetime or as long you will have me, and I always stay true to my word. I get midnight texts from college students I had in the third grade asking for help on calculus homework. Students seek me out as seniors in high school as a college coach, as one agent told me “You promised you would be there for me no matter what, and I need help with this college process.” Middle and high school students volunteer at homework club for service hours. I feel very lucky to have formed these bonds with students. Trust, mutual respect, and honesty are strong values in these relationships. One of my most cherished evenings with my students and their families is one I have to wait years for, literally.

Your student is coming home today with an assignment in which I ask him or her to write a letter to himself or herself at 18 years old. Their letters asks them to think about their strengths, weaknesses, future life, and fads. It also asks them to think about how the world might change when they are seniors in high school and to reflect on tools their parents have given them. These letters will be sealed in a time capsule to be opened the first weekend of May in 2023. Parents are also invited to write a letter to their agent as well as put in photos or other items that represent 2016. These nights are inspiring, filled with lots of laughter. Honestly when I do them it feels like we never left our community. I look forward to seeing many of you in 2023 (no matter where life takes us). 

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