I’ve taught senior English for over 15 years now, and one of my favorite things about the job is getting to meet and work with some of the most amazing people around during a pivotal time in their lives. Each year I’ve learned a great deal about life in general from my students, and while this year is exceptional in many other ways, I would make no exception with your class.
Even before the pandemic, I witnessed some of what makes humankind great: compassion, thoughtful communication, and respect for others. I saw students exhibit these traits during class discussions, during side discussions that students may not have known I heard, and even in the halls sometimes. And though we already thought we’d been walloped at the end of February, none of us would’ve anticipated three months of remote learning. Three months at home.
But here we are. Sometimes making the sacrifice that our government has asked is hard, but I’ve seen students handle this difficulty in ways that our overall life-affirming. And I’m left with that similar feeling of awe and admiration of the human spirit.
Part of what binds us as people is our access to strength, our access to folly, and our tendency to make mistakes. So, as for the future, I recommend this: identity and then be your best self. Forgive yourself each and every time you make a mistake and honestly vow to do differently next time. You are enough. And while I meet might be the one imparting advice right now you are the ones who have already demonstrated it.