We have been experiencing an interesting phenomenon these past two weeks. Some of my students that graduated last year attend a local technical high school. The school had a fire in the chemistry lab and suffered fire and water damage causing the school to be closed.
Thinking back to my youth, these unexpected days off would likely have been spent sleeping in, watching tv, hanging with friends, going to the local Friendly’s etc…
Well, I keep receiving emails from my recent graduates asking to come to their old school so that they can mentor younger students for the day. They are enjoying this time so much, they keep asking to come back as they find out that their school continues to be closed.
They are offering their expertise in solar car building and design, helping kindergarteners with consensus decision making as they choose their class music video, assisting 2nd/3rd graders with sewing projects, accompanying young students on hikes, participating in and lending experience to essay writing mini lessons for 6th & 7th graders. The list goes on.
These are the people that inspire me, they are the hope for our collective future. Something draws them back, something more powerful than the cultural expectation of a teenager their age. Something that doesn’t show up on the standardized tests. Something that I wish I had in my life at their age.