Santa Letter from First Grader Will Make You Rethink What You Take for Granted
I want to share with you a letter to Santa Claus, written by a first-year girl who tells Santa that she has behaved well and asked for food, a ball and a blanket.
The message of the 7-year-old girl, Crystal Pacheco, is going to our hearts and makes us reflect that many people lack even the most indispensable.
Their teacher asked Pacheco, “Well, why do you need a blanket more than the food?’’ to which she responded, ‘Well, I get to eat at school—sometimes I may not have at home, but I get to eat at school. A blanket I have one, but it’s not warm enough.”
All of us must support the neediest.
It should also make us reflect on what the best opportunity we have to fight poverty is precisely in schools.
Frequently I ask you to take advantage of this great opportunity that you have at this moment and prepare yourself as best as possible to face life so that the future of you and your children is the best possible.
The future depends on what you do today. – Mahatma Gandhi.
I want to share with you a story that I liked very much in my childhood.
by Oscar Wilde.
Give up on your frustration but never on your hopes.
Give up thinking about your setbacks but never on your goals.
Give up worrying about your past but never on your future.
I would like to wish all my students and their families a very Merry Christmas, filled with plenty of warmth, love and happiness, and a prosperous New Year! May the magic of Christmas fill you with peace, joy and inspiration.
When I was a child, in elementary school I had very good teachers of spelling and grammar, but not mathematics.
In middle school, the math teacher had a complicated pregnancy and because of that was often missing, and so many of the class hours were spent playing basketball.
I did not feel competent in math and thought that I would never find a career.
I was fortunate to find a teacher of Spanish origin, the engineer Ramayo, who believed in me and told me something no one had ever told me, that I was very competent in mathematics and could achieve what I aimed for in life.
Thanks to his motivation, I studied engineering and excelled in my studies, completed two master’s degrees, directed research groups in the oil industry and have run my own companies, I have generated several patents in the energy sector, I have been a university professor for more than 20 years, and now I have been a teacher in secondary education for eleven years.
In my teaching experience, I have realized the importance of believing in students, and the relevance of making them see that they can achieve everything they set out to do.
In psychology, this phenomenon has been studied (the experiment of Rosenthal and Jacobson in 1966 is well known) and is known as the Pygmalion effect, or of self-fulfilling prophecy.
If parents and teachers have confidence in the child and they convince him that he can succeed in life and emphasize what he can achieve; the child will excel and succeed. But if on the contrary, they only emphasize their shortcomings and defects, by word or deed, they make them feel that they will fail, the child will not work, he will not be careful, and his school performance will be mediocre or badly plan.
There is a Henry Ford thought that sums up this: “So whether you believe you can or if you think you can not, in both cases you are right.”
It is something that I live on a daily basis. Students who are stars with me, who stand out a lot in my class, who obtain the highest degrees of academic excellence, are the same students who in previous years, had serious academic problems and even failed in mathematics, which is the subject that I teach. I mention a frequent case, students who failed the state test (STAAR) in the previous year, are often the commended performance, which all the teachers of the following year want to have.
Sometimes I talk to other teachers who teach the same students, and they say: “I do not tolerate so-and-so, very apathetic and disinterested, and their work is rather mediocre.” It is hard for them to believe, when I tell them, that in my subject they are bright and participative students, who stand out among their classmates and who are sure to succeed in whatever they propose.
The future is not casual but causal. We build it with our daily work, with determination and perseverance in achieving our goals. The difference between success or failure is in the decisions and actions you take daily, as well as the perseverance you apply to achieve your goals. Leave your comfort zone, and dare to succeed. Remember: If you keep doing the same actions, you will still get the same results. If you want to get different results, you will have to start by performing different actions.
Einstein put it this way: “the definition of stupidity is to do the same actions and expect different results“. Using another analogy, it would be like planting apple seeds and waiting to harvest oranges, sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
If you propose it, the triumph will be in your hands. If you do not stop yourself, no one will stop you, and you will achieve everything that you propose.
For many years, I was the professor for numerous college students, and one year I had the pleasure of meeting a very bright and talented student, that was very motivated and engaged in the class. She often had the highest scores in the class and was always smiling. She even won a national academic competition, and I was her advisor.
Then suddenly she started missing classes, at first, the absences were rare and far in between, then they become more frequent until she stopped coming all together. I asked her friends to learn what was happening with her but they didn’t know either. They told me that she had grown apart a long time ago to be with her boyfriend, who had also stopped studying altogether.
After many years, I met her at a store in which she was working as a cashier. I greeted her warmly, embraced her and asked her about how is her life going?
She started crying, and told me:
“I made a grave mistake, I fell in love with a boy who was doing drugs. I thought that I would be able to change him, he always told me that he could stop using drugs whenever he wanted, that he had done it before and will do so again. Then he incited me into using drugs, at first it was a sporadic occurrence and then they became everything for me. I stopped caring about my family, school, eating, my personal appearance, or my faith. Drugs wrecked my life and my mental and physical health. This is why I stopped studying. When the money ran out, he pressured me into prostituting myself. With that money, we bought drugs for the two of us. Then he started dealing drugs, until one day he never returned. I was told that he had been killed.
Soon after I realized that I was pregnant, and it was then that I decided to stop using drugs.
It was very difficult, and the anguish and despair that I felt are impossible to put into words. I sought help from my church and other support groups, and I was lucky to found someone who understood what I was going on and that help me to overcome it.
I spent some time working as a maid, washing clothes and taking care of the elderly. Now, I am working as a cashier earning minimum wage and barely having enough to eat, clothing, medicines and other essential needs for my son.
All my peers from college are already working on their careers and completed their degrees. I am ashamed of them seeing me working as a cashier, and I regret not completing my education.
Please tell your students to be very careful of the people they bring into their lives. A bad company may stray them from their path, and ruin their lives as it happened to me. My son is the one who saved me if it was not for him I would probably be doing all sorts of things to get some drugs. I am going to take good care of him, give him advice, and be ever vigilant to help him succeed in life.”
Then we said our goodbyes with tears in our eyes, and since then every time that I see some of my students with others that may be bad company, I worry for them, and talk to them from the bottom of my heart trying to advise them, to keep them from falling into a trap, one which is almost impossible to overcome when being dragged by a bad friend that only wants to see them fail.
This is why I worry for all of you, I have seen many students that start well striving to succeed in school and then they get lost when they meet other students that have behavioral problems and are defiant of authority. They start missing their classes, not doing their homework and getting into trouble themselves. I pray for you every night, and I ask God to protect you, to enlighten you to choose well, and for us as teachers and administrators to give us the wisdom to protect you from bad influences and to help you all to be successful in your life.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month!
Everyone has the right to feel safe and be respected.
In many schools in our country, children unjustly suffer persecution, threats, insults, humiliation, and repeated verbal or physical abuse by other students and even by adults. School bullying has grim consequences on the mental health of our students; It causes emotional disturbances, depression, low self-esteem, low grades, school dropout, and even suicidal thoughts. For this reason, a campaign against bullying has been declared in the country at the national level.
When I was a child, my younger brother was harassed by another child in school and frequently came beaten and crying and did not want to go to class anymore. My mom said to my brother: “If you want this to end you have to face it, do not let them abuse you because if you leave as is, it will continue for a lifetime. If he hits you, you too, with all your strength, let him know that his actions have consequences. “ The next day the abuser assaulted my brother, and my brother fought back; he ran over and did not stop hitting his abuser until a teacher intervened. From that day on, the other child stopped bothering him and even turned around every time he saw him.
Bullying takes many forms; It can be physical, verbal, psychological and social. All of them equally, detrimental and harmful to the health of our children. On the following paragraphs, I will tell you a few examples of bullying in our school which I learned recently.
Last year one of our students was caught with a small kitchen knife. After he returned from the punishment that was applied to him, I asked him why he brought it. He told me that a group of students from a gang had threatened to beat him and they will continue to beat him until he joined them. His sole purpose for carrying the knife was to defend himself. It is a sad story in which the only people that received punishment was the child being the victim of bullying and not those who were harassing him.
One of my students this year asked for a change of school, precisely because he could not stand the pressure, beatings, abuse, and humiliation that he was subjected from a gang of students that he left after realizing that what he was doing would not lead him to anything good. He told me “if I continue with them we will end up all in jail.” Although he did not tell me explicitly, I think this group of boys was involved in drug use or distribution.
Girls are no strangers to bullying. In this same school year, a student arrived crying because a group of her colleagues surrounded her, and began to push her and to make fun of her publicly, with homophobic expressions. She told me that she had never felt so offended or as embarrassed as that day.
This year a mother told me about of a sports coach in our school who verbally assaulted her son and other students and shouted profanities and insults at them during training and games. He even took the student´s hoodie and wiped his shoes and told the other children to do the same. I advise her to report it immediately to the school authorities. But the mother who was undocumented decided not to risk being deported by drawing attention to them.
I want to ask our students, parents, fellow teachers and school authorities to come together to combat this scourge in our schools. If we avert our eyes from this problem, it will only fester and will become even more challenging to solve.
Bullying affects us all, let’s fight together to make it a thing of the past.
If you suffer harassment do not walk away, report it.
Last week I was very sad to hear that a sixth-year child was caught smoking drugs in the school bathrooms. The next day I learned of an eighth-grader who offered drugs to his classmates. This news worried me a lot, and I had no sleep. Over and over again I wondered to myself, what can I do? What should I do?
Many times I have seen that some students destroy their lives, their studies, their personal and family relations, as well as any possibility of future success because they fall into the trap of drugs.
Ten years ago I retired as a teacher of higher education and started teaching math at the middle school level. In the first year, I learned of a similar drug case, and I went to the school authorities to ask what we would do. The answer surprised me: “That’s society, there’s nothing we can do”: I totally disagreed with it. When authority is defeated and does not want to intervene, minimizing and in some cases hiding incidents of this type, it will only aggravate the problem.
Society has placed in the teachers and school authorities the great responsibility of cultivating and caring for the most valuable treasure of all the families and of the nation, this is its young people. We can not turn a blind eye to these problems and ignore them. On the contrary, we should alert parents and raise awareness among young people of the serious dangers of drug addiction. To deny the existence of a problem or to pretend that it does not exist does not solve it; but on the contrary, aggravates it. It is a task for all adults to protect with all our strength, with all our heart, with a clear and determined strategy that protects our students from this serious problem.
If a friend offers you drugs he is not a friend, a good friend does not endanger your life and your future.
Take advantage of this great educational opportunity you have today, your future and that of your family depend on what you do today. Do not make a mistake that you’ll regret all your life
Do you think having a drug-addicted child is what your parents want when they send you to school?
And if you have already fallen into this problem, seek help. Lean on someone you can trust, a close relative, your teachers, school or spiritual counselors. I want to tell you that with will, determination, and perseverance, other people have come out of drugs. There is a thought that I want to share:
“God changes caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds by using time and pressure. He is working on you too“- Rick Warren.