Sometimes I look at a class full of students and try to imagine what they will be in twenty or thirty years. The class I’m facing is 4th grade, a very good transition grade between the naivete of little people and the pseudo-sophisticated 5th and middle schoolers.
This is quite an interesting exercise. I’m thinking that the young man who keeps bouncing out of his seat will be an athlete. He’s trim, energetic and wants clear definition of the rules.
Another student, a girl, will be a corporate dynamo. She’s forthright, organized, creative and displays decisive leadership skills.
One young man appears to be headed toward a career in the military. He’s serious, clean-cut, and sports the traditional short haircut of the armed forces. When he interacts with me, it’s consistently “please” and “thank you.” Finishing his assignment, he quietly begins work on a paper construction of some sort.
Some of them don’t provide any clues at all. They are carefully observing all of those around them, either to secure answers or see what everyone else is doing that they’re not.
Because I’m not likely to know how close I am to the realities for these students, all of my speculation is merely mental gymnastics. While I’m observing, I see the chatty children without focus, the medical staff student contingent that rushes to a student with a life-threatening cut finger and the ones who simply follow directions.
Whatever they decide to do with their lives, I now promote and encourage them. When I asked a class the other day what they would do in a lab that allowed them to create anything they wanted, many had very mature ideas. Several wanted to eliminate global warming and one wanted to grow sufficient food to feed the world.
As a facilitator, I verify all of it, thanking them for thoughtful responses. And I always consider myself fortunate to be part of their dreams. Shalom.