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  • LoveTeaching Week

Hope is Contagious by Sara Russell

Close your eyes. Picture yourself in a room with 25 of the most creative, innovative, and compassionate people you can imagine. Are you picturing a room full of adults? Do the people all have faces that you know and recognize?

When I do this exercise, I picture one of my high school social studies classes filled with 15 and 16 year olds. The world may not yet know their greatness, but I have the honor of seeing it everyday. I get to spend my days with the future leaders of this country and maybe even the world. Students who see all problems as solvable, and are not limited by the current times in which we live. They are brave enough to speak out against injustice and do not want to sit idly by while decisions are made for them. They are learning how to have respectful conversations even when they are not all in agreement. When they do not know the right words, they ask for help. And they ask so many questions…a sign of both their curiosity and bravery.

Of course, students do not just come to school with these skills. When I see my amazing students, what I am really seeing is the product of their past and current teachers. Someone taught them that asking questions is not a sign of weakness, but a realization that you can always learn and improve. When a student disagrees with another student with respect, it is because they were taught that disagreement does not mean judgment and belittling. When I see a student helping another student pick up the contents of a dumped folder, it is because someone modeled that compassion is cool. And when a student turns in an incredible outside of the box project, it is because no one told them they were limited.

I challenge anyone to spend a day in a school and not feel hopeful. Their hope is contagious, which is why I #LoveTeaching.

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