We started the year as ten eager sets of eyes and ended with a net gain of four extra pairs of eyes. The class has many strengths and a few challenges to overcome, such as not copying poor choices of behaviour from each another.
It only takes a moment to be courteous – and that makes smiles.
I read somewhere that it takes seven fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Grade four’s students each have the ability to turn days of frustration and worry to days of sunshine and happiness. Bring me sunshine, in your smiles! Just like, when I say the word birthday, and the whole class starts singing ‘happy birthday’ to me in October, May, or June… a running shared joke that carries warmth.
不知道在哪里我曾经读到过这样一句话，微笑比皱眉要少用7块肌肉。四年级的学生都有这样一种超能力，都能把沮丧和忧虑的日子变成阳光和快乐的日子。用你们的笑容给我带来阳光吧! 就像那一次，大概在10月份，当我说到“生日”这个词的时候，整个班开始给我唱“生日快乐歌”，接下来的5月，6月，基本上每个月我都收到生日的祝福…… 在我看来，这是一个温暖的玩笑。
Over the past year, I have seen countless moments of your growth, scenes like photos frozen in my mind.
Finding little post-it notes on my desk and tiny little handmade gifts from scraps of paper. These are things we never ask for, yet are rewarded by caring, disciplined and balanced learners.
Seeing students tackle texts far above their grade level; dissect and cut open popular quotations; make and share ice cream, cheesecake, flapjacks, and lemon teas.
Seeing bright smiles with swipes of a ping pong bat; hugging each other after a stray Frisbee bumps a head; shooting the ball so hard that your big toe hurts; the glorious teamwork in the cooking room – working through problems together; ignoring me all day because I told you to ignore things you disagreed with, and you took my advice a little too far.
trusting yourselves and respecting the expression of others; using genuine apologies and acknowledging to yourself that you’ve made a mistake – you’re only human, after all! asking new questions; connecting with authors, museums, and parks in ways others can only dream of; treating each other with warmth and sincerity; sharing your vitamin waters, and my vitamin tablets.
helping to tidy up the classroom after someone else; building a tin can cable car to help your teacher; explaining the many difficult Chinese stories and words in ways that I can relate to; and multitudes of wonderful moments that cannot all be documented or photographed. No matter what you think, it has been an honor to work with and for you all.
You can bring more sunshine to the world. Stay positive. Smile in the face of difficult and testing feelings. Put on the bravest face. Be more Superman than Super Monkey! Now, knuckle down, work harder, play hard and dance like nobody is watching. You are all butterflies in a hand. Free to fly away, but safe to stay and learn from the hand that holds you.
Grade five is one final step and one big leap in primary school. Give it all. Every bead of sweat, every gram of energy, every waking moment, every electrical charge of new reading. Pick up books. Pick up more books. Turn bookshelves into book mountains. Drink the words like water.
Swim in the stories. Let the tales and information of each page become part of you. Never ever stop reading! Question? Answer it. Find a new question. Spread love for reading. Let’s read together in the new school year. I look forwards to seeing you well-rested, eager, and ready to show your teachers, new and old, why I believe that you are all set for big things! To the future scientists, explorers, chefs, and every possible job going, I say: Do your best and that’s all we ask. C’mon you sausages!
Thank you to all the teachers involved with this class, especially Miss Jenny for her support with our blooming grade 4 class of flowers.
The above speech was presented at Dongguan T.W.I.S. during the ‘Moving Up’ ceremony. Translation by Jenny Wang.
“There’s only one way of life; And that’s your own” – The Levellers, One Way