Last week’s Remembrance Day Ceremony at L.V. Rogers may have been the best one that I have attended as a teacher (ever!) in sixteen years. Ably led by Mr. Cross, Ms. Martin and her Leadership 9/10 class the service came across as one of near perfection.
More to the point, I found myself pleasantly (and awkwardly) surprised by the level of respect and reflection that the student body demonstrated for the duration of the service. And somewhere within the service, I sensed a healthy respect that the group held for their peers (many of whom were Grade 9 students) that took part in the service. The same group that confidently and calmed addressed the entire student body and school faculty. And let’s be clear about this: most of us (teacher included) will never, ever publicly address a group of over 800 at any point in our lives.
Sadly, many adults (again I’ll include educators here) continually refuse to give our youth much credit when it comes to societal expectations such as demonstrating sincere respect and thanks for something; or expectations around reflections on the past. Could it be that we lower our expectations at these occasions so that any changes to these overgeneralized and inaccurately held beliefs are pleasant surprises?
Is the perception of asking our youth to reflect on issues that seem so far removed from their in-the-now environment really a daunting task? Maybe. Maybe not.
At any rate, our youth do need to have those cues set by adults: be in the present to address; to consider reflection. This will continue to be essential especially as we head down the rabbit hole of the digital future.
But asking and expecting are not the same thing.
As long as we continue to expect the best from our students at whatever or wherever society holds in high regard, I’m pretty sure that our youth will rise to the occasion and continually blow our ill-conceived expectations of the distracted and dispassionate youth out the window.
We really don’t have a choice, do we?