Hello you crazy cats!
My name is Joshua Seigal, and I am a poet. All of you have heard of me by now, because your class is named after me. To my knowledge, you are the first and only class named after me in the world. (There may be a school in Mongolia or somewhere who have a class called 'Seigal', but I've not been informed about it.)
The first thing for me to do is to tell you how unbelievably proud I am that your class is named after me. For the rest of your lives you are probably going to remember that you were in a class called 'Seigal'. You may think that's a bit weird, but I find it really cool. It means that, whatever you decide to do in your life and wherever you decide to go, you will be carrying a little piece of me with you. I don't mean that literally though; I'm not going to give you a piece of my finger or leg or anything like that. That would be absurd.
I have written a few poetry books (you can Google them if you like) and I spend most of my time visiting schools. Who knows - maybe one day I will get to visit your school. I suppose the next thing for me to do is to tell you a little bit about myself and my journey as a professional poet.
When I was at school I had no idea what I wanted to do as a job. I enjoyed reading and writing, but I didn’t always enjoy reading and writing the kinds of things they made us do at school. I always had quite an active imagination, but I was frequently told I was naughty and uncooperative.
My parents pushed me very hard to get top grades at school, and after a while I became obsessed with getting the best marks in all my tests. After a while, I started to get quite depressed. When I was at university I realised that writing poems was good for my mental health, as it gave me something to concentrate on as well as a way to express my emotions. I enjoyed doing it so much that I eventually decided I wanted to be a poet.
Of course, no one believed that I could be a professional poet. It is not the kind of job that anyone talks about. But I knew I had a passion for words and for performing, and I knew I wanted to work with children and young people in schools. In 2012 I decided that this was what I was going to do.
My journey since then has been very interesting. It has not always been easy, and being a poet is not as well paid as being, say, a footballer. But I feel very lucky to be able to do the job that I do. I am writing to you now to say that there is no such thing as the ‘correct’ thing to do in life. If you have passion and self belief, then you should follow them wherever they lead. You should also read and write the things that you want to read and write; the things that you are interested in. I believe that all reading and writing is good, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Even if you think you don’t like it at all, I would urge you simply to give it a go. You don’t need to put pressure on yourself.
So have fun, believe in yourself, and keep reading and writing! Oh yes, and also please visit my website, www.joshuaseigal.co.uk.