Most people I know, when they find out I teach at high school, shudder expressively -“how can you stand it?” they ask with a wry grimace. I get it. Teenagers can be pretty exasperating at times. But I spent these last few days with 27 teenagers on a road trip through the beautiful Bay of Islands to see the history they have learned in our classroom up close, and I can tell you this – we can learn a lot from teenagers.
They have an unashamed joy in little things. The beach above is Opononi, in Hokianga. They knew we were stopping there for lunch but, apart from one student who’d been there before, none had any idea of the incredible beauty of the place. They were delighted; they skipped stones, paddled in the shallows, took endless selfies of smiling faces.
Selfies get a lot of flack but isn’t it great that teenagers, at the height of human developmental insecurity, still want to record each moment with those they love and in places they deem beautiful?
They support each other. I know there’s a massive bullying issue for youth at the moment and for me that’s what makes the majority of teenagers i know, and their care for each other, so special. Words of encouragement and praise drop frequently from their lips. They laugh at each others’ silly jokes. They check in on each other when they know someone’s going through a tough time. Sometimes this takes the form of banter but often it’s a hug, a handshake, a ‘you got this’. Continue reading “An ode to Teenagers. Yes, really.”