When was the last time you received a hand-written letter? For students of Mr. Farrer, it was a letter that they had written to their future selves 20 years ago, full of their young hopes and dreams as well as memories of people who have since passed away. Bruce Farrer started the assignment when he first started teaching at Bert Fox Community High School in the small Canadian town of Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, in 1961: 10 hand-written pages that he would mail back to the students in 20 years. Watch the reactions of some of the students Farrer has been able to track down, year after year, for over 30 years.

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  • Amazon

    What inspired you about this video? I really liked this video. It reminded me that their are great and committed teachers. It also mirrored the reactions of the people in my life that receive my snail mail. Writing and receiving a letter has become rare but like Mr. Bruce I hope to keep the tradition alive.

  • isaac asamoah

    how it look like

  • LKB

    What an AMAZING & caring teacher! If each child had just one person who cared about them that much, to find them, to connect, in their life like he does, think how different their life would be! FYI: I am still in contact with three of my past teachers - from 9-12th grade art teacher and two college professors, bec I care.

  • Kay

    The real integrity of the man is the best lesson for his students; he made a commitment and he honoured it, showing respect to each of the people he taught. I really love this, as a secondary teacher it embodies all the best qualities of outstanding teachers, he is too modest, this is an outstanding thing and he should be proud of himself, the concept and his insight that this assignment would be of real value, both at the time of writing and the time of reading. Wonderful teaching indeed.

  • Jane

    This is so totally awesome...what a wonderful teacher....what a wonderful exercise for any young person to do. A very special and generous man!

  • Annette

    There is a never ending abundance of love that comes out of his commitment. It not only lifts Mr. Farrer (as one can see the aliveness in his gait) It lifts everyone he has touched.

  • Towanda M. Allen

    That is what parenting and being s teacher is about! Putting the time in NO MATTER WHAT, that is what my mother did for us and that is what I will be doing for mine! Thanks Bruce and stay blessed?

  • Mick

    This is wonderful. Parents can do this too. When my first child was born I wrote how I felt being a new mom, how in love I was with this baby, this new life I created. I saved it until she was 16. Now she has a baby of her own and began reading it. She sees a lot of similarities and we have grown closer.

  • Ajay

    How about us students take time off to write to teachers (find them like Mr Farrer did his students) - or better still, take the trouble to meet them - and tell them what they mean to us - to what we are today, where we are today!! it would make their day. And they more than deserve it.

  • Chetan SHAH

    It's a fantastic idea, what an imagination or foresight of Mr Farrer, unique indeed. I just can't wait to emulate the same thing with my children. I am gonna do it today.

  • Lorraine Michael

    That everyone should have at least one person in their life - a teacher, a guide, a mentor... who gives of himself so beautifully to enhance the life of another. Bravo. Thank you for posting this video. Lorraine.

  • Peggy

    A teacher does have the ability to touch your soul and inspire you. Good teachers do exist and need to be appreciated and respected more.

  • Martin Samuels

    Now in 1961, I was 16 years old, Grade 10 or 11 at Central Collegiate in Regina, and was very active at the United Nations seminars under Tim? Harder? at Fort Qu'Appelle in the summers in Saskatchewan. They were great; I remember playing an African Country (Senegal?) one summer; and, another summer, I played the Ambassador to the UN from France, I think ... and hey, 54 or 55 years later I have an MA from Carleton in French Literature, I've almost got a Doctorate in French from UofT (PhD without having a completed thesis), I'm a French citizen thanks to my marriage of 42 years to Simone Samuels, who also holds both citizenships! I've been the Bank of Canada's Advisor on Bilingualism for almost quarter of a Century and in Retirement I help charities with their French-language campaigns in particular as well as teach French (Monsieur le professeur de français for 14 years now in two very tiny Orthodox Jewish Private High Schools in Ottawa!) And yes I was the representative of France to the United Nations summer session in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan in 1961 ... many, many, many letters ago ... Many thanks to my new Secular School Principal, Jamie Bell, for all those wonderful memories this morning, by sharing this superlative video with me!! ... and hey Jamie, your French teacher would still think he could be a great Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada (quite honestly as good a one as any of the ones we've had) after all, one of the former Commissioner's of Official Languages, Dr. Victor Goldbloom called the Bank of Canada 'a beacon in the night' on official languages (in French he called us 'un phare dans le brouillard') and that was during my tenure as the Bank's Advisor on Bilingualism (in his Annual Report of 1992, I believe) ... Many thanks again, Jamie ... and many thank to Harry Corrin, too ... who chose me to teach French in his schools. I was the first teacher he hired almost 14 years ago; he had just been named the secular director to the two schools! ... Wow so many memories ... and the future ahead of us!!!

  • Iris Curteis

    Thank you, this is such a gentle way to review our lives - a time warp where we meet ourselves as 14 year olds and the 14 year old meets who we have become!

  • Sandy

    This is great most of us at 14 had a specific mind set, and to receive those goals and ambitions in writing 20 yrs. later, how amazing. Don't know about any one else but if I had written a letter like that at 14 and then received it at age 34 I think my life might have been a lot different. I am now 66, my children are grown, and my grandchildren, but I am going to see about getting my great grandchildren to do this.

  • pam broiles

    Watched the whole thing. It was so engaging. Mr. Farrer, what a gift you are and you gave. P.S. Still writing with a fountain pen---nice!!!

  • Barbara Fuhrwerk

    This was of special interest to me since I taught middle school (junior high) for years and all my seventh graders wrote letters to themselves answering all kinds of questions about their future life, their own persona, their friends, and aspirations...they sealed them and I mailed them five years later right around graduation for high school. I received more thoughts and accolades from this assignment than absolutely any other. I also wrote them a letter and taped it to the envelope before mailing. I can't imagine keeping them for 20 years. However I mourn the loss of cursive writing since it carries such personal characteristics.

  • dr. lynda klau

    what inspired me was the assignment. and the follow up. i would have like to hear more concretely some of the 14 year old dreams and where the students are now 20 years later.

  • delia

    It was heartwarming to see Mr.Farrer getting recognition for being a caring soul and such a fine educator.I live in California although I grew up in Saskatchewan and I can say I had outstanding teachers.They helped prepare me for an ever changing world by taking an interest in me, helping me to feel valued and constantly challenging me.Teachers can and do make a difference. The caring and commitment we see in Bruce often is not celebrated.Thanks to Westjet for bringing light to this man's contribution.

  • Jenny

    Bruce - you ARE one of those amazing teachers!

  • debbie

    My kids had assignments,not of such length but in elementary school and it was mailed to them at graduation from high school. Another great one was an essay at age 12, of yourself at age 72, looking back on your life and what you'd tell your grandchildren..my daughter indeed created a a trail on which to travel her dreams through this task. GREAT Teachers are trailblazers

  • John

    There is a website calledwww.futureme.org that lets you send emails to yourself in the future.

  • Maria

    The willingness by this teacher to look into each student as a real person and the gratitude shown by the students. I worked in a school where some teachers went a whole year without even knowing a students name. Very sad and also very heartwarming to read about Mr. Farrer.

  • sandeep brahmbhatt

    Hats off mr. Farrer. What a beautiful film it is.i am going to write gratitude letters to my teachers for being the lanterns of my life. :)

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    What a wonderful idea. Thank you Mr Farrer for being a good, good teacher. Here's to teachers who inspire and here's to letters to our future selves no matter our age.

  • Patricia

    I will be age 69 in a couple days.I wish I had a teacher like Mr.Farrer when I was young.But maybe it's not too late to explore his assignment.So I will write myself a letter and tuck it away with my keepsake treasures.One day in the future I or one of my heirs will read it and know me in a new way.Thank You Mr. Farrer for the gift in the future.

  • Margo

    Fantastic! I'm 55 and I took a class last year and at the end our instructor handed out 3x5 cards and had us write a note to ourselves and sent them to us 6 months later. That was pretty powerful so I cannot imagine what a 20 year old letter to myself would have sparked. Great work Mr. Farrer!

  • rosa

    oh such a wonderful and inspiring idea. I wish I'd receive now a letter from my 14 year old self.... !!!!! happy new year guys and thank you for this lovely website... I read you from argentina

  • Page 1

  • This article reports on some of the students of the Class of 1994, who received their letters in 2014.
  • Watch the story of another incredible teacher, Mr. Jeffrey Wright, who teaches his students about love, family, and the meaning of life.
  • Hand write a letter to a loved one (perhaps to yourself) to be opened at a later date.

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