Over this past school year we were able to connect with the grade 12 class in a way we hadn't really anticipate. Last year we both taught elementary classes but this was our first time teaching high school. Tim taught 11/12 socials daily and Kallie taught 9-12 Music history & culture weekly.
Many of these students are “third culture kids” being raised outside of their parent’s home country, not fully fitting into a single culture but having
It’s a (challenging, intimidating) fascinating thing to find yourself at the front a senior classroom after years of being at the back of so many classes. Suddenly we were grading papers with mistakes that years ago plagued us, and having the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of teenagers again.
Promising I (Tim) would be different, I quickly found myself sympathizing with past teachers and their approach to learning. Staying on task seems to be necessary to cover the entire curriculum, despite how tempting it is to follow every side comment heading down a rabbit hole. I was able to resolve one pet peeve early on. I can’t think of a meeting I’ve sat through without at least water available (especially in Bolivia) yet students face drought for hours. So I got a kettle and cups in the class and made sure there was always coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available (for my sake too!).
In April I was asked to chaperone the 12th grade on their senior trip to the city of Santa Cruz. I honestly did not know what to expect… but it turned out awesome. These kids are connoisseurs of fine ice cream, cinnamon buns, and pizza—but are overwhelmed by food courts. They have no mercy when go-carting, and have endless ideas for spontaneous entertainment. Oh, and packing 9 people into a car is standard for them.
We both had the opportunity to attend the high school year end social banquet in May. This too was a blast as it’s neat to step back into the energy, awkwardness, and 'creative logic' that emanates from teenagers.
On our last day of school, an ongoing inside joke about George Clooney resulted in him visiting my class. Unfortunately, I just missed him but he was kind enough to plaster the class with dozens of pictures of himself and a few personalized notes.
This week we celebrated these grads at a formal banquet and graduation ceremony. It was inspiring to see how proud their parents were and the level of depth these teens displayed as they spoke about their past experiences and direction for the future. You can pray for them as they reflect on their accomplishments, say goodbyes to family and friends, and begin the next chapter of their lives.