My Advice to My 8th Grade Girls on Perfecting Their SELFies

I've been up since about 5 this morning, writing individualized report card cover letters to my 8th grade girls. This is the last time I will ever write one of these cover letters to them because they are graduating from middle school this Friday. The following letter is one of my favorites thus far. It is my hope that other educators steal it and tweak it so that they may use it with a few of their girls as well. Sometimes we have to speak their language in order to truly be understood. 

Dear _________,

My favorite photographer. I was looking at all of the pictures that you took during the adventure race from last year and I am still amazed at the priceless moments that you were able to capture.

When I think about you as a scholar, I often find myself comparing your work habits to the way that you used the camera that day. In your classes, you often spend a lot more time focusing your lens on whats occurring around you, instead of what is being presented directly to you. There have been many mornings and afternoons in Crew where you have shared a story with us about any and everything under the sun but rarely did you have any news about an assignment or challenging task that you overcame.

I don’t ever want you to put your camera down. You possess a true gift in visual artistry that many could only dream of having. However, I am urging you to start “perfecting your selfies”. This means, you will need to approach your schoolwork with you and only you in mind. I want you to put more energy into raising your reading level than you do on the whereabouts of others. In high school, the workload will get heavier and much harder. You wont be able to put a filter on top on things and still expect to earn enough credits to graduate. You must be present every day, you must take the responsibility to ask for help – even if you are nervous about how your peers may perceive you – and you must keep trying until you fully understand the concepts and skills that are being taught.

You have so much potential, more than you may even know but just because you don’t always see it, feel it, or get "likes" in the form or recognition from others for it, that does not mean that it is not there. Expose your true abilities to exceed all academic expectations to your self.

Remember, I am always a phone call, text, or DM away.

Love always,

Ms. Clay