Letter to My Learners

In order to recreate the farewell feeling that Yearbooks created for me in high school, I wrote a letter to all my learners and then wrote a personal note on each of them. I have 220 learners so this took a bit of time, but I really enjoyed it. It helped give me closure to the year and think about how lucky I felt to have gotten to know some of these kids. I watched some open their letter with big smiles and thank me later. It was a great way to end the year on a positive note.

After I’m done marking the last 220 exams then it’s 5 weeks of summer to look forward to! The entire country shuts down from Dec 13-Jan 13. We are very much looking forward to relaxing and being tour guides with visits for fam (Josh’s parents) and friends (Mona and Chris)!

Next year Peace Corps volunteers aren’t allowed to teach as many classes because we are expected to get our secondary projects (like a school library, girls club) up and running sustainably. Our service ends in July also, so less classes = less classes and learners without a teacher once I’ve left.

I’ve requested to teach new learners next year, the 8th graders. I think there is value in me reaching more learners here and exposing them to my different teaching style.

Happy Summer from the other side of the world!

___________________________________________________________________

Dear                                    ,

I wanted to write you a letter to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed being your teacher this year. I also wanted to leave you with a bit of Mrs. Shusko wisdom as I won’t be able to do that daily next year since I won’t be your teacher.:(

You all challenged me daily and pushed me to do my best. When I could tell you were enjoying a lesson or learning something new, it really gave me such great pride and pleasure.

I thank (most) of you for bringing your enthusiasm, energy, humor and wit to class. You sometimes stumped me to give you a clear answer which forced me to think of creative ways to help you understand this difficult language we all speak.

If you haven’t discovered this already, learning is a lifelong process. It happens in the classroom but also outside. If you haven’t already, I hope you begin to love to learn. I know I do.

I hope that with every new experience you have, every new person you meet and every book you read, that you learn something from that experience, person or book. Knowledge is power.

I write this letter most importantly because I want you to know how much I believe in you. You will always meet people in life who say you can’t do it, you’re not able, or you shouldn’t do it. Know that I’m on your side, I’m on your team, and I truly believe you can do whatever it is you set your mind to. Don’t doubt yourself.

Remember that to achieve your goals in life you need to put in a lot of time, effort and work. Remember Mr. Shusko’s lesson – It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. You will meet a lot of people in life who won’t “go the extra mile.” You probably already know many who don’t. You need to work hard in order to get what you want. Go the extra mile. Do your best, give your best, always.

You hear often the phrase “education is the key to success” and after awhile that may sound like lip service. But I’m here as a wise old lady to tell you I’ve seen education lift poor people out of poverty and create confident people who change this world. There’s no reason all of you can’t have great success in life.

My former English teacher who is a close friend of mine today once told me that the goal of life is to constantly work on becoming a better person. To challenge ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. I try to live that every day. While living here I’ve tried to work on being a better teacher every day, a better Peace Corps volunteer and American every day, a better wife, a smarter person, a better friend, a stronger person. Take small actions everyday to create a better you.

We can only control our own actions in life. We reap amazing benefits personally when we challenge ourselves to do better.

We all make mistakes. We all suffer hardships. But it’s what we do with the hand that we are dealt that distinguishes the triumphant from the defeated. You’ll always be able to meet someone who you have suffered more than, but you can also meet just as many people who have suffered more than you. How we let these experiences affect us shows the kind of person we are. Will you let circumstances beat you or will you fight and win?

Forty-five years from now when I’m old and grayer, I’ll look back and reflect that no doubt living here in Namibia and teaching you will be one of my life’s greatest experiences and memories. I will never, ever forget you. Thank you for sharing all that you did with me.

I care a lot about each and every one of you. I hope we will always be in touch and that this is just the beginning of our relationship. I wasn’t joking when I said you are invited to visit my husband and me in the United States.

I’ll be around next year and still available when I’ve gone back to the United States. I am happy to help you however I can. Think of me when you apply to college or for a job and need a reference letter.

Congratulations, be proud of yourself, your hard work and celebrate. Good luck next year. But remember this is just the beginning. The future of Namibia is in your hands. Go out and kick butt J

❤ your English teacher,

Mrs. (Lisa)Shusko

P.S. You may friend me on Facebook when I leave and I’m not a teacher here anymore so we can keep in touch easily. 🙂

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