As I am about to head into my 20th year as a middle school teacher I am reminded about how important it is for us, as teachers, to be mindful of what we say to students about their futures. If a student tells me he wants to play professional basketball, I say, "Cool! Go for it! Maybe score me some sideline seats??" If a student tells me they want to go into the military, I don't say, "Really, but what about college?" Instead I'd say, "I'd sleep so much better at night knowing we had someone like you out there keeping us safe." If I had a student tell me they wanted to be a welder, I'd say, "That's something I've always wanted to try - maybe you could teach me someday?"
I teach 8th graders, and I think back to what my life was like when I was in 8th grade. Keep in mind, this was 1988. No internet, no cell phones, no Fortnite. I literally had no idea what I wanted to do when I was out of high school, but I knew I didn't want anyone to tell me that I was limited in what I could do, or whatever I came up with wasn't that great of an idea. Let me get to the joke:
[Told to me years ago by our old custodian, Gary, who spent 20 years as a bricklayer]
A guy bumps into an old friend from 25 years ago, and they get to talking.
His old friend says, "Man, I haven't seen you or your twin brother for ages! What's your brother been up to??"
The guy says, "Well, for the past 13 years he's been a brain surgeon."
His old friend says, "No kidding?! Well, what have you been up to then??"
The guy says, "Well, a little of this and that after high school, but for the past 23 years I've been a bricklayer."
His old friend says, "Oh, man. Don't take this the wrong way, but isn't it kind of sad that you're a bricklayer and your twin brother is a brain surgeon?"
The guy chuckles, and says, "Yeah, I guess so now that I think about it. My twin brother couldn't lay a straight brick wall to save his life!"
This year, let's support the dreams the kids we teach have. You never know the impact you'll have on them, or that they'll have on you.
Thanks for stopping by,
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies