Back in the classroom
I so love a high school classroom! What an amazing place to spend hours and days of life. At the beginning of October I was fortunate enough to spend the first period of the day with the Executive Mentors at North Valleys High School. (A big thank you and shout out to Principal Curtis and Ms. Shaw and her students for welcoming me.)
These mentors form a small group of interested and involved students guided by their fearless leader and teacher who they call "Captain". She's a power house! I would have loved my own high school English class were this "Captain" my teacher. And it's quite evident how much her students love her.
These mentor students and I did a little activity together, they gave me some very useful feedback about how they are using and how they like YOUTH Positive. Their comments on the usefulness of the lessons in YOUTH Positive were supportive, positive, and encouraging. They like it. They're putting into practice in their own lives what they are learning. It's making a positive difference for them. I'm so pleased with the whole process.
What really struck me was how beautiful and powerful is a classroom environment where students feel loved and supported by a teacher who respects them and expects greatness from them. It's a reciprocal relationship that not every student nor ever teacher understands. When a teacher can address her students as dignified and valuable young adults, these students feel that they are valuable. They develop a sense of dignity as a student. And as a human being. When this happens, they treat their teacher with great love and respect. They will perform and become excellent students because they love her, because she has given them what they need--acceptance and appreciation of who they are and belief in who they can become.
That's real education, empowerment, and growth in the works.
To have witnessed this in my classroom visit at North Valleys was awesome. Writing about it now brings a tear to my eye. It's a powerful thing, this relationship of trust and love between teacher and student.
My hope in creating and sharing YOUTH Positive is that every classroom in the nation will have a similar dynamic environment. My hope and dream is that every teenager will have someone in their life who honors and loves them, just as they are. And yet, knows what they are capable of becoming and so pushes them beyond their comfort zone. The pinnacle of my hope and my dream of YOUTH Positive is that every adolescent will become that for themselves, that they will be their own source of strength and goodness and love and personal progress.
And then be that for another.