September Commencement Speech

After months of talking about blogging- even publicly putting it out there to my PLN at a #oneword event in June, I am finally and reluctantly posting my first post. Not at all a post I have spent much time thinking about. Not at all the post that I expected as my first, but for me, during the past year, doing what is expected has not always been the norm.

So, here is my ‘not what I expected’ post.

September Commencement Speech

What is a commencement speech?

“Tradition has it that a commencement speech typically contains life advice, words of wisdom, lessons learned, ideas on how to be successful, insights on how to be happy, and what really matters in life” (referenced here).

So, why did I give a commencement speech to our Grade 7 students today?

In order to model one of our school goals which asks teachers to clearly state the learning intentions with our students, I thought it would be prudent to talk with our grade 7 students now. Share my advice and words of wisdom now, at the beginning of their “graduating” year of elementary school, rather than waiting for the “graduation speech” which normally comes in June when we say goodbye.

My goal in giving the students my speech now is to empower them to use this year as an opportunity to learn, grow, and, most importantly, reflect on their own learning and growing. An opportunity to practice along the way, and ultimately demonstrate proficiency in their learning- not only academically, but spiritually, emotionally and socially.

I want them to reflect on the following questions:

“How do you want to be remembered here at St. Francis of Assisi School?”

“What have you learned during your years at SFA that you will take to guide you in the years ahead at high school?”

My simple advice:

  • Work hard – there will be failures and challenges; persevere, ask for help, keep trying
  • Be humble – be quick to compliment others
  • Smile – maintain a positive attitude, or fake it if needed
  • Be respectful – towards adults, peers, yourself
  • Love God – through acts of kindness and obedience
  • Serve God- through works of charity for others
  • Keep learning!

In closing:

As educators, no matter what we taught them over the years, we were most concerned with helping each of them to become the best person they could be. I want them to know how much I love them, how much I have learned from them, and how proud I am of each and every one of them.

So, I’m guessing my June commencement speech may look differently…

Thanks for reading!

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