High school students in our state are back in class virtually. They are adapting phenomenally. If you know a high schooler, give them a (virtual) high five.
Dear High School Students,
In case no one has told you today, you are AMAZING.
When I was in high school, my two biggest concerns were, “Where are we going for lunch? And what time is dance practice?” Sure, there was the normal teenage stuff about boys and friends. But I certainly was never worried that if my internet went out, I’d fail English class.
You, however, are keeping track of your assignments, your classes, teachers you’ve never met in person, younger siblings, even jobs for many of you. Some of you are in live classes from your workplace, free wifi spots, or cars. You are kicking butt at balancing all this–this tightrope you are walking that is on fire while you’re juggling swords and hula hooping while carrying raw eggs.
For many of you, the only thing that keeps you motivated in school is the non-school stuff: your friends, creative writing club, soccer practice, theater club, the math teacher that makes you feel smart, or the cute boy in second period. But you have NONE of that right now. And somehow, you are managing.
You are communicating like professionals now, advocating for yourself and your learning. You are adapting, maturing, and succeeding. You are not behaving like the coddled teenagers people think you are.
You are behaving like the Indiana Jones/Jack Ryan/MacGuyver of education right now. Focused, determined, and resourceful.
One day in the future, you’re going to encounter adversity again. And when you do, I want you to remember how you handled this. Because you ARE handling this. Remind yourself that when football seemed to be the only thing that kept you out of trouble, and you suddenly didn’t have it, you somehow managed to buck up and still get through geometry.
When someone criticizes your generation, kindly remind them of the days when you would use your phone to write an essay while you helped your little sister with her sixth-grade math while dad was on a Zoom call and mom was at work.
And yes, there will also be failures. Small ones and big ones. Fail as many times as you need to, but get back up. Again.
As teachers, it’s inspiring to think of the potential of our students, and even better when we get to hear what you grow up to be and do. Right now, the world is changing you–but for the better. And after seeing you in action now, I am certain that it will be you guys, your generation, that will change the world.
We are so very proud of you,
Your teachers (of which, I am one)
Originally published September 2020.
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