Hey student, we see you. Hunched over your paper, with that dazed expression on your face. We see you slouched behind that screen pretending to work on something other than your fantasy football line up. We see you.
I know this isn’t the easiest time in your life. Things don’t always make sense. You are traveling at the rate of hyper-speed through a tumultuous corridor in your development. It’s bound to be a bit bumpy. I wish I could tell you that everything is going to work out alright. I just don’t know that. What I do know is that you will make it through. Of that I am certain. I am standing at the other end of that hallway now. It’s easier for me to see the light.
And I’m not going to tell you I’ve been there. I haven’t. I mean, I have been your age, but not your age now. That’s different. The forces are stronger. They are more pervasive. You are rarely completely still; you are driven to distraction. That ray of light that emanates from that screen sends you adrenaline doses well into the night. Your conversations with your friends really never end. Communicating without any of the intimacy, you are compelled to respond and engage, fearing the oblivion of silence. I would have been afraid too.
We see you. I know you believe no one truly does. You hide behind that mask. You play the part. Sometimes the performance is masterful. Other times, you forget your lines. When everything feels so immediate, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Your emotions are an extremely important part of your DNA, but they are lousy decision makers. Too often, you let what you feel dictate the next move. You get better at discerning the difference. I promise.
We don’t always tell you this, but we love you. We really do. We are human, not stone. We get weary and worn. Papers pile up. Checklists get longer. Objectives, plans, and test dates loom. Preparedness. Organization. Repetition. Too often, we let these inform the culture of our classrooms. The stakes are high. Believe you me. We trade in souls here, not currency. This is the marketplace of human development and social change. We are on the front lines. No, this job is not for the faint of heart.
We see you, student. We don’t have to play games. We know when you cheat your own potential and falter under the weight of unrealistic expectations. We know the social sacrifices it takes to have integrity. We see you struggling every day to become . . . .well, you. Hang in there.
We are teachers, and we see you.