An Open Letter to My Grade IX Students

– Himal KC

Dear students,

Today, I am writing to express my joy, satisfaction, and our class’s success in particular. I am writing to express how pleased I am to have completed a minor but important task successfully. This task would not have been completed if you had not actively participated. If we had started with your textbook, I would have been staring at you for failing to get you to understand the meaning of a simple word. We challenged our traditional approach and began our journey to discover exactly what was required of us.

Dear students, learning vocabulary is one of the most important aspects of learning a language. Most of you probably don’t recall when you first learned to speak your first language. I want to mention the fact that while calling your parents, you made a lot of mistakes. Being so small at the time, you did not feel embarrassed. Spada (2007) claims that children younger than three years old do not speak in grammatically correct sentences. Children pick up language because they are not aware of their errors. Their primary goal is to tell their elders what they need. According to Nicholas and Starks (2014), Language learning cannot be skill oriented. Children do not learn their first language as you are learning English now. They only focus on words to communicate. I hope you understand the fundamental concept of language learning.

I wanted to share my reflection so that your juniors will be motivated to learn English in the coming academic year. Your success story can inspire others who are struggling to learn basic English words. Sharing reflection can support both the teacher and the students. Reflection is an integral part of the learning process (Hedberg, 2009). I am sure you have understood why I wanted to share my reflection.

Now, let me remind you of how we began our first class this academic session. In class, I assigned a simple task. Except for your two friends, you all struggled to read the text. I was devastated and couldn’t figure out why you were so poor at reading. I told you to put the book down, but I could see your unhappy faces. You had to be wondering how I was going to finish your course at the end of this session. But you knew what I was going to do when I wrote 50 words on the whiteboard. Because the words had short spellings, you all seemed excited. When I asked you to spell and pronounce the words the next day, only ten of you could. That day, I was upset with you because you couldn’t pronounce words like ‘us,’ ‘use,’ and ‘as’ correctly. You looked comfortable when we repeated the words.

What was the turning point in your vocabulary-learning journey? I believe it was the day I announced a spelling contest in our class. I gave you 100 useful words for the spelling contest. We hadn’t touched our books in 25 classes. You were shocked when I named the groups ‘translation,’ ‘comfort,’ ‘communication,’ and so on. You must have realized why I named the groups in that manner. I wanted you to remember a word without having to think about it. On the day of our first spelling context, I was overjoyed. It was a proper spelling contest with a tie-breaker. We spent five periods on the spelling contest, and in the end, a tie-breaker was required in the final. You all remembered the words quickly. You picked up the spellings and uses of words.

Now, at the end of this letter, I want to share some important vocabulary-learning tips with you. I believe you recall what I said after the spelling contest finals. I advised you to use the words in your writing to help you remember them. You wrote a short paragraph that contained a few grammatical errors but don’t worry, you will learn basic grammar later. I must remind you that learning grammar is also important. Sound grammatical knowledge makes you smarter. We will have fun in our next class. Goodbye for now.


  • Hedberg, P. R. (2009). the Reflective Manager. Journal of Management Education, 33(1), 10–36.
  • Nicholas, H., & Starks, D. (2014). Language education and applied linguistics: Bridging the two fields. In  Language Education and Applied Linguistics: Bridging the Two Fields.
  • Spada, N. (2007). How Languages are Learned. Issues in Applied Linguistics, 15(2).
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