As a high school teen (in a previous century), I benefited greatly from a band director and clarinet teacher who helped me, made connections and enabled opportunities that changed my life. One of the best parts about teaching, and one of my core-motivations, is to similarly advocate for today’s teens. I invest in as much individual interaction as I sense students are comfortable with. And when I have been able to improve or enable, often after expressions of gratitude, I explain that I had people help me, which is one of the reasons I am trying to help them — and that some day they’ll be in a position to do the same for others — and that when they do, I want them to remember me — and smile.
This time of year, after writing scholarship, job and admissions reference letters, sending notes, returning calls to potential employers checking references, etc., I tend to get a few notes like the one below. I’ll share some over the next few days. Please don’t try to figure out who is who…that is not the point.
Those of you in the adulting business, know that you can have a positive impact. Try, even when you don’t see the results, or the result isn’t what you hoped for. And then, when you get one of these occasional notes, recharge your advocating batteries and keep at it.
Teens are great — and worth it!