Teaching is challenging, there is no way around that. It is also incredibly rewarding. The rewards are scattered here and there and sometimes you may go a while without seeing one, but they do show up.
This morning one of my classes took their final exam which covered all areas of study since the start of the semester in late January. The majority of the exam was multiple choice, but the last three questions were short answer, and more personal. High school is not just about grammar, spelling and literature but also-and most importantly-about living and learning. In short, students had to :
1) Recall their most memorable life experience, explain why it was memorable and how it has influenced their life and who they are today.
2) Share the best advice they ever received, convince me why it was the best advice and let me know whether or not they took it.
3) Complete a bucket list with at least ten things they want to do before they die (FYI : skydiving was the most popular aspiration).
Some insight into the lives of youth today...
One student-talkative but incredibly sweet-saw his father murdered right in front of his eyes. He told me he tries to forget that it ever happened but it's really, REALLY hard....
One boy was involved with a gang and spent time in jail for various reasons. He lived wildly while his ill mother fought for her life. Before she died she told her son, my student, she wants him to graduate high school and do well in life. Since that moment, this boy has changed his ways and is currently working toward graduating next June. (In a class discussion he even quoted scripture. I'm praying for another soul in heaven!)
One young lady is going to high school, working, and taking care of her mentally ill mother, alone.
Another sweet student has recently moved to Charlotte from New Orleans to live with her father. She moved because her mother died.
This teeny tiny girl, filled with the largest, joyous personality, almost drowned this past weekend before a lifeguard pulled her out of the water. She described her thoughts, as she struggled to stay above water, to be filled with the desire to tell her family how much she loved them and was sorry for not appreciating them as much as she should.
And one boy wants to marry a supermodel before he dies.