A new school year begins on Monday 12 September. How many thoughts in the children, teenagers and young people who will return to sit at school from tomorrow, in a year that we hope will be as “normal as possible” after these complicated years. But how many thoughts also in the minds of teachers and professors to give the best to future generations.
A high school teacher Concetta Riccottilli wrote a wish for the new year for the diocesan weekly Nuova Scintilla.
We report it in full, wishing the best to students of all ages and their teachers!
A few words for the coming year
A torrid evening in the heart of summer, a notification on the mobile: “Hi Prof, I wrote a letter to the girl I fell in love with. Can you correct it for me? ”. Below is a photo of two sheets on a table, thickly written in beautiful handwriting, in pen, in italics. Two full pages for a love letter! There is so much power in this message, enough to take a run and jump into the new school year that is about to begin.
“Hello, Prof”: first of all, the report. Life calls the School, and claims its presence even on vacation, even if an immemorial time has passed since the last farewell. The hypnotic power of old class photos, the tenderness of a meeting with the elderly teacher, certain school dreams that recur even if you are in sight of retirement, remind us today that we need to work on this horizon of meaning, on dimension. of the beyond and of the “beyond”. I like to think that each cycle lasts nine months: a fruitful time for the gestation of hearts and knowledge. Nine months that ideally connect us to the idea of teaching as “maieutica”, or the art of giving birth, bringing out unexpected talents and resources.
Secondly, the word strikes me, the handwritten word. In the approach to literature, one encounters the famous Veronese riddle: “Se pareba boves, alba pratalia aràba…”. Imagine a young monk, bored by copying ancient texts, writing on the sidelines of his work a small enigma that will go down in history, being no longer Latin, and not yet vulgar: “He kept his oxen before him, plowed white meadows, and a he kept a white plow and a black seed sowed ”. His hand, the blank sheet, the ink. In the completely digital age, while there are those who propose the abolition of cursive and pen writing to relieve children from the fatigue of learning and for an equivocal idea of inclusion, neuroscience reminds us of the benefits of handwriting , which stimulates cognitive development, involving fundamental areas of our brain. How many times the white sheet has frightened us: the white sheet is instead the big opportunity! This summer a father of the Italian language has dramatically snatched from us: Luca Serianni was, for many literature teachers, an irreplaceable teacher. Last April, live from his studio, there was talk of the restoration of the first written test in the State Exam. Hand, blank sheet, pen, intellect. Enough to write a love letter, but also a defense plea, a travel diary, a story, a political program. Serianni used to recommend to teachers the use of the green pen, alongside the red one, to “write” the most beautiful and meaningful passages, to remind us, in short, that it is always necessary to highlight the strengths, and not just the points of weakness.
So here we are, to the third word suggested by my student in love: Love, in fact. It is St. Paul, in his Hymn to charity, who gives us the key to reading: “Even if I spoke the language of men and angels[…]but if I did not have love, I would be nothing ”. To remind us that our knowledge is worth so little, if it does not pass through the door of the heart and emotion, in a dimension that goes beyond our limited gaze: “All excuses, all believes, all hopes, endures all”.
In the little space I have left, a small and colossal slogan arrives to conclude, to hang in the classroom on the first day of school: “I Care”: “I care, I care”. It is the legacy of Don Milani, almost a hundred years after his birth. These children are close to my heart, the Italy to come is close to my heart, the Constitution is close to my heart, the last and the marginalized are close to my heart, the Earth is close to my heart. And how much more, everyone knows. Even a little love letter is close to my heart, reminding me that one must still believe in good and true things. Everything that we will be able to build in our lessons will be a brick for the future. Happy New Year everyone, and a green pen always at hand.