The advent of the smart phone has ushered in a great number of things. We get updates after every baseball game; we know with whom Kevin Durant signed as soon as it happened; we know when it is raining 2 minutes before we see the drops. Perhaps the largest change has been our constant connection to the world, and most specifically, to our friends.
We no longer have to wait for the first day of school to find out who went where and who is now dating whom. Thanks to social media, we know not only where our friends went, but what they ate for every meal. We know what movie the new couple saw on their first date, and the sweet way in which they refer to each other.
Preparing for the new school year has also changed dramatically. When we leave for summer break, students are given reading lists and math workbooks. AP students may have papers to write and notes to take. Teachers are finding new ways to teach lessons, building on their previous year’s successes and failures, and students are using their own successes and failures to determine their own goals for the upcoming school year.
Freshmen are nervously spending their last weeks thinking about their new identity in a new school. How will they be viewed? Are the teaches more difficult or easier? Are the people in the class going to notice how much I’ve changed? Will they care?
Sophomores are wiping their brows, glad they’ve survived the first year of high school, and are ready to tackle the world. The word sophomore literally means “wise fool” and in preparation, they are hoping to only be half of that moniker.
Juniors have been told since 6th grade that this is the most important year, and also the most difficult. It’s time for the ACT and SAT, to look at the colleges they might be interested in, and to think about the world they might be most interested in creating. Will they contribute to society as a teacher, a CPA, a doctor, an electrician, a welder? The possibilities are endless.
Seniors are just thinking about getting through the first semester. Then they know the second is just an endless celebration of their accomplishments, as they get accepted into college, receive scholarships, get into trade school, and finally, receive a piece of sheep skin with their name on it.
Preparing for the school year looks different to everyone. August 1st rolls around, and everyone knows that sleeping in until noon is soon to be a thing of the past. The weather is hot, but those days of summer shouldn’t be traded for anything. Even teachers understand the important of mischief, and the summer time presents the best time to do this. It is a time for unstructured creativity, for making forts or sandcastles, or reading non-school assigned novels. Every time you are using your brain to invent a new game, or to wander the coast, or to figure out what happens when you tie three bottle rockets together, you are preparing for a new school year. Teachers want to come back on the first day of school and find out what you have done to get ready. They are not asking what math problems you have solved, or what sentences you have diagrammed. They want to know what you have learned about the world. They want to see what you have learned about yourself. And they want to know that you are ready to bring these new experiences into the classroom and make connections with the lessons at hand.