After teaching exclusively in a high school environment for the last 18 years, this cliché permeated my consciousness as I prepared to start a new job in September. I was leaving the familiar world of high school Social Studies to work at the system level as Student Voice Learning Leader. I would be responsible for the Chief Superintendent’s Advisory Councils, one each for junior and senior high students from across our system. It was an incredible opportunity, and I eagerly anticipated the challenge awaiting me. Still, I had one slight apprehension…..
I didn’t have any experience working with junior high students. Unless you considered my university practicum, that is. I wondered if eighteen years in a high school classroom meant I wouldn’t know how to interact effectively with younger students. I wondered if I had what it took to channel the power of youthful exuberance.
What I’ve learned in my first full month on the job is that age really is just a number. These students are as mature and committed as any group I’ve worked with. They truly embody what our school system strives to produce: active, engaged citizens determined to lead change. I leave our meetings inspired, and excited to plan for the next one. This age group might initially have intimidated me, but their ability astounds me. Their enthusiasm has reignited my own passion for my chosen profession, and for that, I am sincerely grateful.
Jodi Olson is a teacher and the parent of three children who attend CBE schools. She is a lifelong learner, voracious reader, and enjoys baking and travel to warm destinations.