I think students are awesome. I love elementary kiddos, they were my first love, I thought my whole career would be spent in buildings with chairs too small for adults to sit in. Over the past few years I can't believe how much I like middle school and high school kids. Conversations with them are at times hilarious, challenging and inspiring!
When I hear the phrase
"Oh, these kids today...."
I finish it with
are facing a tough road
are so funny
are going to change the world!
BUT, so many people who say
"These kids today" finish it with less than a positive ending.
So how do we have the folks who spend no time with "these kids" see the kids the way we do?
Invite them in!
Before I worked in our middle school and high school I was sort of afraid of this age group. I had kids of my own this age, but teaching them? All it took was a few minutes in a few classrooms for me to know that kids are just kids, whether they are 8 or 18 they each have their own individual story.
If we want our communities to view our students the way that we do, we must get them together. When I taught elementary school it was common to see parents in the building, reading with kids, helping in classrooms, but that changes the older the students get.
Start changing that public opinion by inviting the community in, invite them in as experts to share with students, invite them to sit on panels for presentations, invite them in for gallery walks of student work.
If they won't come in, go to them!
Find problems to solve in your own community and empower your students solve them!
Students at the New Tech Innovative Institute in Gary, Indiana did just that. They worked with several community partners to design a subdivsion .
Students at Niles New Tech in Niles, Michigan partnered with a local elementary school helping to bring elementary student's creative invention ideas to life.
Students at Facing History New Tech in Cleveland, Ohio created public service announcements to help local non-profits.
Students at the Weidner School of Inquiry in Plymouth, Indiana hosted a Tech Fair for their community showcasing a variety of tools and projects. They held it in conjunction with a BBQ and a home basketball game!
How are you partnering with your local community to change the way people finish the sentence...
Oh, these kids today....?