It has become a tradition in our school in recent years to produce a commemorative Yearbook to present to the pupils in 6th class as they leave the school. The organisation, collection of material and printing of the book is all done by parents. It includes profiles of each pupil of the departing 6th Class, which they have filled out themselves, as well as lots of photographs of their journey through the school. A pupil usually designs the cover of the book. I was asked to pen a few words to be included in the book. At first, I really wasn’t sure what to write. I consulted my best friend, Google, looking for ideas. I came across a poem that I really liked which verbalised the sentiments that I was trying to convey. Then, based on the poem, I was able to put together the following few words for the pupils that were leaving my care at the end of term:
Some Thoughts at the End of the Year as You Leave Our School
I recently met two lads in a pub who had been in my sixth class in this school many years ago. It really thrilled me that they didn’t mind to stop for a moment, shake my hand, talk to me and tell me about how they were getting on, what they were doing with their lives. They told me about what others in the class were working at and where they were living. As teachers, it makes us proud when our past pupils deem it worth their while to stand and converse with their teacher from primary school. It makes us feel that maybe we weren’t so bad, that the pupils had learned a great life lesson in our class – the importance of people in our lives.
Education is much more than learning lessons, studying subjects and taking tests. W.B. Yeats said that, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I hope that over the past ten months that I have achieved more than simply filling your head with facts and figures – I hope that I have sparked an interest in you to always improve; to strive to be better; to be the best that you can be; to never be afraid to get things wrong, because that is how we learn; to have fun; to co-operate and collaborate; to be generous; to respect others; to share your interests; to enjoy music; to blog; to be creative, in all its forms; to try different sports.
There is plenty of time in secondary school for focussing on studying for points in exams – I really believe that primary school is also about making great memories to carry with you for the rest of your lives. I hope that you will have many happy memories of your time with me in sixth class: [here I mentioned a list of things that we had done during the year].
I came across this anonymously written poem on the Internet which I’ve adapted slightly. I think that it’s very appropriate for you as you leave our school for the last time:
I give you back your children,
The same children you confidently entrusted to my care last September.
I give them back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser,
More responsible (hopefully) and more mature (maybe) than they were back then.
Although they would have attained this growth in spite of me,
It has been my pleasure and privilege to watch their personality
Unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.
I give them back reluctantly,
For having spent ten months together in the
Narrow confines of a classroom
We have grown close, become a part of each other,
And we shall always retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we meet on the street, your child and I,
A light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips,
And we shall feel the bond of understanding once more,
This bond we feel today.
We have lived, laughed, played, studied, shouted, argued, sang,
Hugged, tested, chatted and enriched our lives together this year.
I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give them back I must.
Take care of them, for they are precious.
Remember that I shall always be interested in your children and their destiny,
Wherever they go, whatever they do, whoever they become.
Their joys and sorrows, I’ll be happy to share.
I shall always be their friend.