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  • Writer's pictureDerek Stoppels

Dear Students,

Dear Students,

As you enter my classroom and begin a new school year, I wanted to offer some thoughts.

You're about to go embark on yet another scholastic and academic journey, but remember, your performances on tests, quizzes, assignments and exams do not define your character. It's okay to fail. It's okay to make mistakes. Some might look bad on a report card, and some might look bad in front of your friends, but those mistakes and failures do not define your character. How you bounce back from those mistakes and failures is what defines your character.

My job as your teacher is to provide you with opportunities to grow and develop skills that are going to help you in the grand scheme of things. My goal is to meet you where you are and push you to grow from there. I will not pull you though the course, and through the curriculum. I will provide you with opportunities to discover yourself and find out what your are made of and capable of.

Today, you are enough. But you are more than you were yesterday, and not as much as you will be tomorrow. This is an exciting time! The lessons you learn in my class may not be immediately noticeable, but the work you do in our class will pay off in the long run. You are going to do amazing things, because I know you can do amazing things! It might not always be easy, and it might not always be fun, you are going to have to do work. But, you will have a greater understanding of science, and more importantly, of yourself when you leave my class, than you do today.

Keep in mind that this is only grade nine or ten science. You are more than that. You are more than your English class, more than your math class, more than your history class, gym class, geography class, music class and any class in which you'll ever find yourself.

Grades on a test, exam, report card are not going to be what makes your friends, gets people to love you, or even like you, and they certainly won't get you a job. Your character is how you will be perceived and remembered. How you treat people, and how you deal with adversity is what defines you. Your work ethic and your habits define your character, which defines you. Being courageous, industrious, resolute, self-reliant, disciplined and honourable are going to get you farther in life than a number grade on a report card in high school.

Now, if you work on all the skills, attributes and virtues above, it may lead to a better grade on a report card, but by no means should the mark be the end goal. You are a work in progress and hopefully you will always be a work in progress. The goal should be to never stop improving yourself.

All this to say, believe me, I know, that high school can be a tough time. I am available all the time for any reason. Need extra help on school work? Let me know and I'll support you as best I can. Need help with social issues, I do what I can do support you. Mental health issues? COME SEE ME RIGHT AWAY!!!

I'm on your side. I want you to succeed. I want your best. I want to work with you to find out how to get the best out of yourself. This is about growth and development. We will be learning and doing science in my class, but we will be doing SO MUCH MORE! You will get the information you need to move on in whatever stream you think works best for you but you will also be developing skills that are going to help you navigate life now, everywhere, and all the time.

I'm really excited for this semester/year and I can't wait to meet all my new students and to reconnect with my former students.

REMEMBER: I can be available whenever you need. Present students and former students. If you need help with anything, just reach out. Even if it's just to reconnect, I'd love to hear how things are going!!!

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