Public education is a paradox. With all of it’s flaws there are moments of complete fulfillment. Teachable moments and learnable moments. Students and teachers share in these moments on a daily basis.
Yesterday one of my student’s, who over time I have become quite close to shared a speech with me that he was writing for our awards ceremony, his message was to dispel the notion that his generation (Generation Z, New Millennials etc.) were narcissistic and lazy. He, like every other high achieving senior in history wants to leave his friends and peers with a message of hope and inspiration. A hope that their class, their generation will change the world. Upon reading his speech it got me thinking about narcissism, and cynicism. Our adult condition, the jaded perspective that always seems to go hand in hand with real life. Why do all the things that we strive for as ambitious high school seniors seem to fade into a mountain of mortgages and divorce, tragic plot twists and Facebook rants. My intentions when I started to write this was to identify and analyze our cultural arrogance, but that can come in a later post. Instead, I want to write an open letter to the class of 2015:
To the Class of 2015,
In this the season of goodbyes, know that throughout your journey in the jungle of public education, you have been surrogate sons and daughters to so many teachers, coaches, and directors. You have been up, and you have been down. You have been happy and you have been sad. You may have even been in love. You have met deadlines and you have missed deadlines. You lost yourself, and eventually… you will find yourself. To my students who may read this, and the rest alike, know that this is not a sad time. It is a time of reflection. We all need reflection, and we all need to assess. You will leave high school ready to become your own man, your own woman. You will deal with complete triumph and you deal with complete defeat. Some will win… some will lose. Think about how you treat people, think about how you are being treated by people. Love an animal and you will never be alone. Make somebody laugh daily and you will never age. Don’t ever quit… at life. Remember we are just a sub atomic particle in the vastness of everything, but it takes sub atomic particles to exist. To the class of 2015, be narcissistic, be ambitious, and be yourself. Don’t leave home because people don’t understand you, keep talking until they start to listen. Change never happens through choice, it happens through necessity. Change the world, but start with yourself. After your done talking don’t forget to listen. Hold the door for someone and smile at a stranger, you never know when you might have just saved a life. Don’t do drugs… exercise and remember if you are breathing it could always be worse. Know that this time of the year only happens to you once, but teachers lose apart of their family every year. We will miss you and you have influenced us greatly. Good Luck Seniors, and congratulations, and remember to keep on rocking in the free world.
ps. One more thing!! Never say that high school was the best time of your life… you are limiting yourself…
With the sincerest of thoughts,