Monday, January 6, 2014

Don't Live Life in the "Woulds"

I've always felt that a teacher's relationship with their class was unique. The routines, the stories, the laughter, and the lessons are part of a special experience that only the people in that class understand. In the interest of transparency and sharing...

An Open Letter that I'm emailing my students this week...


As you know, we are starting second semester today. As you may not know, we are just 126 days from the National AP US History exam. While we have crossed the halfway point, I'm sorry to say that we are not gearing down. We are gearing up.

As we said at the beginning of the year, you signed up for something different. You signed up for a class that gives you a tremendous opportunity. You are a part of something bigger than just "us." In May, 400,000 students nationwide are going to take this test just like you. Your work, your dedication, and most importantly, "your consistency," will be challenged by some of the best students nationwide, and by the hardest test you can attempt.

On most nights, you will make difficult choices in how to balance your time. I totally understand. I know many of you are extremely committed to your families, extra-curricular activities, and of course, your classwork. I want to give you 3 bits advice before we start second semester:

1. This test rewards consistency.
If you can do your notes well every night..if you can pay attention in class every day...if you can ask questions and challenge me, you, too, will be rewarded. This test is important for your future, but your score will not define you. We want you to earn 4's and 5's. We want you to be able to tell your parents that you just saved 6,000 dollars on your college tuition. But more importantly, we want you to build the habits that allow you to EARN success. Consistent habits help you earn success.

2. Believe in yourself.
Did you know that the median ACT reading score in your class is a 19.8?  That's average by national and state standards. Don't feel bad, all my classes in year's past are the same. Average. Just average.
But you are anything but average. 
If that number meant anything, very few of you would pass the test. 96% of Leyden students have passed this test in the last two years. You are doing everything it takes to be successful. Believe in yourself. I believe in you.

3. Don't live life in the "woulds."
Not the w-o-o-d-s. The w-o-u-l-d-s. I wish I would have... If I only would have... I would have but...
I didn't pass this test in high school. I wish I would have. When you get to college, your test score will matter. You will feel less pressure to finish in four years. You will get to take other classes that feed your passions. But when you get your score in July, you won't think about all that. You will feel pride. You will feel satisfaction. You will feel excited to email me to tell me all about it. What you won't feel is regret. Don't live life in the woulds. Continue to run through a wall for me and I will continue to run through a wall for you.

Welcome back! Let's do this!
Mr. Sharos

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