We were so excited for the opportunity to talk to Jessica Hawk, English Teacher of 30 years, and known by many educators these days as the refreshingly candid (and always entertaining) @myteacherface.
Jessica's history with future writing actually began before her teaching career commenced, when she was just 15 years old. At this age she wrote her future self a letter to be opened at her 30th birthday party.
In her own words, getting re-acquainted with herself in this way 15 years in the future was "eye opening and quite endearing". And it went on to inspire one of her favourite classroom activities: Letter to me at 23.
During one of the last weeks of school, senior students write their future selves a letter, which will then be stored and posted back to them 5 years later.
While this activity was loved by her students from day one, it did present a challenge. The posting of these very important and very personal letters back to students at the 5-year mark proved quite the task in itself! Not only was the posting a laborious task, but between the ages of 18 and 23 students will often move around and change addresses.
So, between the posting and the detective work to find each person, the task certainly began eating into all the excess time that — as a teacher — Jessica simply did not have! Equally so, Jessica saw her retirement edging closer and closer, and the collection of letters she was accumulating presented a concern.
With Letter to me at 23 being consistently dubbed by her students "one of the most important things they did during their school year", giving it up was not an option. Enter FutureMe...
When I first heard about FutureMe and that there was an easy way to do my project that has taken me so much time — I was thrilled!
- Jessica Hawk, English Teacher
Jessica heralds this classroom activity as one that you truly just can't beat. The provision of a guideline sheet and a bit of support to get started leads to an entire period of silence as the students write, and write, and write... and often wish they had more time!
WRITING TO THE FUTURE: BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS
Tasking students with writing letters to themselves brings with it a wealth of benefits.
It prompts planning for the future and a consideration of the path forward
It creates a safe space for self-expression, hopes and dreams
It reinforces the value of preserving memories, and schedules joy for the future
It cultivates gratitude through introspection
It provides an avenue on which they can reflect on their growth and achievements in the future
My reality as an educator, like many of yours, is difficult to describe right now. My planning time is booked from now till February, by which time I should be caught up on September’s grading! That was a solid plus for FutureMe. Once I started thinking about my prompt and how I wanted the students to interact with the site, it only took about 15 minutes to get everything ready.
- Sean Hogan, 8th Grade ELA Teacher, WeAreTeachers
USING FUTUREME: BENEFITS FOR TEACHERS
The FutureMe platform was inspired by Founder Matt Sly's memory of taking part in this activity back in 5th grade. So really, it's completely purpose built!
Create a custom page in minutes, and share your URL with students
Store all letters in your account, and set and forget the delivery date
Website structure means this is a fantastic tool to engage students who may be learning remotely
Our educator accounts allow for the sending of photos and video in letters as well!
INTERESTED IN CREATING A FUTUREME ACCOUNT FOR YOUR CLASSROOM?
Head to our FutureMe Pro website and use your K-12 email to set up an account. Our system will automatically recognize your email, and provide you with a customizable Pro account completely free of charge! If this does not register, however, please contact us so that we can provide you with a free code.