1. May you open your mind in order to experience the joy of discovery.
Isn't this why we teach? Of course it is! We want our students to become lifelong learners who continually seek to better themselves through study. But in order for this to happen, discovery has to occur in its natural, awe-inspiring, wonder-producing state. It certainly shouldn't be scripted away by a teacher's manual.
2. May you understand that asking the right question is more important than giving the right answers.
We've all had those students who can read out loud beautifully, but lack comprehension skills; or the student who has memorized their multiplication facts, but has no idea how to apply mathematical theory to their lives. This is not the point of education. Creating critical thinkers is the point of education. Asking the right question, means that you understand the problem at hand. If you don't ask the right question, then the answer to it is of no use. If my students recognize this, then they can be the Louie Pasteur, Steve Jobs, or Picasso of their field; someone who asked the right question, and found an answer that changed the world.
3. May you attain a sense of accomplishment as you fail forward in order to reach a goal.
There is a lot of talk out there about failure, but failure means giving up. We want students who can persevere through setbacks, tribulations, and mistakes. This is the only way that honest-to-goodness discovery can take place. This is what it will take for one of my students to develop a cure for malaria or develop an inexpensive way to get water to drought stricken farmers.
4. May you discover that learning gives purpose to your life.
I truly hope that same idea, somewhere in my students' educational careers, will inspire them to do something wonderful with their lives. Will they invent a life-saving medical device that stems from their love of origami? Will they become a best-selling novelist, even though they found writing tedious, but still had creative ideas to share? Will they open a shop catering to a niche market of customers that only they had the compassion to understand? I certainly hope so!
5. May you merit the friendship that develops from working as part of a team.
Let's face it, you can be a genius, but if you are a jerk, no one wants to work with you. You have met these people before. They are brilliant, but working with them is so tiresome, that it's not sustainable. I absolutely do not want my students to be "that person." How you play is just as important as what you know, and sometimes even more so. If one of my students is to negotiate peace in the Middle East, then they'd better have well-developed social skills.
6. May you delight in the process of making the world a better place.
And now we get to the real reason I teach. I have admitted it repeatedly, and I remind my students daily. For me personally, the world is an amazing, beautiful, and love-filled place. However, this isn't the case for everyone in our world. I expect my students to make the world better than it is now. And I want to live in, and experience that world. This is their one true assignment, the one by which they, as a person, will be measured. THIS is the assignment where they most need to earn an A+. And darned it if I won't do my damndest to help them do it!