teenagers from planet good

Not long ago, I used to be a teenager myself. But these days, I often regard them as fascinating, unfamiliar beings; it’s a pleasure to observe them and to try to understand them.

Last week I chaperoned 10-12th girls on their field trip, horse-back riding on one of the coldest days of the year. They have this strange euphoria which to me was almost as fascinating to observe as watching horses hug one another. We had a bonfire and the girls gathered around singing, dancing, making s’mores. Irrational exuberance. I know I don’t often have it, but its lovely to see in others anyway.

Friday the whole school was pretty tense. We had so many deadlines to meet and too many people were walking around with muscle pains. I got my lunch and went into my room to eat, thinking to grade some papers. Three seniors in there studying. And as soon as I was sitting they asked about why teachers were mad. The looks on their faces were so sincere it made me smile.

One of my eleventh grade students was interviewed by a local public radio program back in ninth grade, when I taught him ninth grade literature. He remembered recently when I assigned the students a listening homework (it was this commentary on NPR’s All Things Considered). And, he has a 27 on his first ACT exam; it should improve significantly when he takes it again at the end of 11th grade, inshaAllah.

One of my adorable 10th graders was devastated Friday because she had to drop Geometry Honors. I tried to explain that she is likely to do well enough without it. But she feels like she’s missing a valuable opportunity.

Looking over this post, I think I’m less describing my students, but more doting upon them. The point is, despite often being annoying and stressful, they’re much more pure than I am. They really make me want to be better because of how they (many of them at least) are naturally inclined to do so much good.

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