Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

by Stacey Ebert / Dec 02, 2019 /
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In high school, senioritis is as real as it gets. For some, it begins that first day in September when students realize they’re officially the ‘big dogs’ in the building. For others, it’s those last weeks or months taking stock in each moment, each milestone, and getting ready, with both trepidation and excitement, for that next stage after graduation. School years have a start and an end. Whether in homeschooling or traditional brick and mortar ones, one grade finishes before the other fully begins. There are some things we only have the opportunity to do when we reach a certain age or stage. For most, junior varsity comes before varsity, that first art class comes before the advanced placement one, and budding chefs have to learn knife skills before they run their own kitchen. Seniors know exactly how this feels. They’ve had that daunting first day of high school experience and are now ready to be immersed in the process of that last year of school–but that last year can be a tricky one.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

This December marks one month left of an entire decade, and for many, senioritis is setting in. Whether it’s that last month of the decade or last month of the year, many focus on things that haven’t yet been accomplished, things left to do and resolutions to set for that next year ahead, or that start of a brand new decade. Where do you fall in this spectrum of time? Are you the senior who is looking forward to that last year of school and ready to bust out to set the world aflame? Are you that senior who spends their last few months of school nervous about what’s to come in a world where their support system for the past four years isn’t any longer part of their day to day? Or are you somewhere in the middle–taking stock of where you’ve been, grateful for the experiences you’ve had, and both nervous and ready for the adventures yet to come?

At one point in our lives, we’re all of those students. Whether looking back at this past year or this past decade, each of us had had successes and failures, dreams achieved and ones dashed, strived for something and perhaps (or perhaps not) attained it–and through it all there was that sticky, messy, aggravating, fantastic growth. How do we impart all of that to our students? 

How do we share that while growth is necessary for life, it’s not always pretty, it’s often hard, and that perseverance is, without question, vital to the process? 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

Being a tweenager is hard. Being a teenager is harder. Being a grown up is hard, too–but each of those parts of life has rewards that far outweigh the difficulty and the growth; the perspective and life lessons are worth it all. 

How do we share that message with our next generation? How do we remind our curious six year olds, innovative ten year olds, over-stimulated sixteen year olds, and beyond, that lessons are steeped in the moments–if only we open our eyes to see?

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

Travel helps. 

Travel teaches those beginnings and ends and all the moments in between. Sometimes getting there is a hassle and leaving comes with all of its own stressors, but even when things don’t work out the way we first expected, it’s often what happens instead that teaches those lessons–you know, the good stuff in the middle. Travel teaches the idea of making resolutions, dreaming big, and knowing that sometimes the paths are filled with twists, turns, mountains, and flat tires. It’s what we do with those unexpected experiences, how we respond to those situations, and what we take with us from it all that matters most. 

Travel teaches that getting lost can be an adventure, that the journey is the part that matters far more than the destination, and that it’s more than all right for those you meet along the way to help you shift, refocus, or even re-craft a new vision of your future. 

In 14 plus years as a high school teacher, I was privileged to cross paths with thousands of students. We didn’t all walk in with the same experiences, and there were various obstacles to our paths. Some struggled with their situations, while others thrived in the space at hand. Some students craved the moments, milestones, and traditions of an educational experience, while others couldn’t wait until they were free of the entire process. While each student, teacher, and staff member was different, there’s not one of us who walked into our first day and left unfazed on our last. It wasn’t always easy, the struggles were real, and the successes sometimes tear-filled. The goals, or resolutions, that were set at the beginnings of the year often shifted by the middle, and more often than not, were surpassed by the end. 

It was those lessons, that growth, the good stuff in the middle than mattered so much more.

There’s officially one month left in 2019, one month left before the 2000s graduate and hit their twenties. Let’s teach our next generation of adventurers to see this as a gift, not a stressor. Let’s show our students to look back at how far they’ve come, and perhaps dream of where they might go next. 

Let’s make sure our next generation sees those in between experiences with all their twists and turns as the gifts they truly are. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

Sometimes it’s the tough lessons in life that eventually provide the most gratitude, messy moments, and endless wisdom. Let’s make sure that our next class of seniors can take stock of their memories, remember their struggles, embrace their successes, and always aim for a new dream. Often the craziness of the end of the year overshadows everything else; let’s be sure we remember to hold tight to all the good stuff that makes it all worthwhile. With the upcoming season of all things hectic, empower each other to use our time well, learn as much as we can, give back as much as possible, and, amidst the day to day madness, seek both growth and gratitude.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Life lessons, resolutions, and growth

 

Here’s to another month of magic, more lessons, dreams, growth and adventures to come–Happy New Year.

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com for more of her travel musings.

 

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