In the midst of daily teaching 7th graders, I sometimes lose track of the great kids who are destined for great things. We tend to spend way too much time focusing on trying to help those who aren't doing their work, helping those who struggle, or dealing with knuckleheads who act like third graders.
Tonight I had the chance to participate in an event organized by some amazing high school students, who give me great hope for the future. They had attended a leadership meeting in Illinois that focused on providing positive alternatives to drinking and using drugs.
These students, inspired, organized a similar event for our 7th graders. The high school students, most of whom I knew when they were 7th graders, planned small group games, large group games, pizza, and a quality speaker talking about peer influence and positive behavior. The high school students conducted themselves incredibly well, stayed patient with chatty 7th graders, and planned an amazing event that was inspiring on so many levels.
To be honest, I just wanted to go home tonight, and the thought of spending three more hours with kids after a long week was a big daunting.
But the three hours sped by quickly. I had a great time, got to know several of my students a lot better, and had a great chance to hear about their lives. And the kids learned that it's possible to stay drug and alcohol free.
I hope we have more events like this. Not only do I gain more faith in our future watching these high school students, but my 7th graders get to see older kids who are strong, athletic, good-looking, and smart be positive and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
It was a good night.