“I am an English teacher of 9th – 12th grade students in a Philadelphia high school.”
What is the most important thing you feel is important to prepare upcoming graduates with?
“The sense of the real world. Most students these days seem to live in a world without consequence. They seem to do whatever they want, knowing there will be next-to-no repercussions.”
What percentage of students, would you say, really know what they want to do for a living?
“I think quite a few of them do… much more so than we did at their age. The ability and ease of finding out information, I believe, really helps a lot of them get a handle on what they would like to do and what’s out there for them. I find myself often saying things like “That’s a job?! Why didn’t any “career counselor” ever tell me about that. I would have LOVED to do that.” (e.g. Traveling food critic, voice-over actor…)”
What makes you feel like you’ve succeeded in preparing a student for college/future?
“I sometimes get emails or Facebook messages from former students actually thanking me for having been so hard with them. They find themselves far above their peers when they get to college. I’ve even had a few inform me their first-year composition professors tell them they no longer have to come to class because whoever taught them did a decent job… so that’s nice.”
Do any students stand out in your memory? Why?
“Honestly, too many to mention and for reasons as varied as the people. You spend four years with these people and watch them grow and transform. I am also lucky enough to work in a school that embraces individuality and truly allows them to be themselves. This question has brought a lot of them to the forefront of my mind though. Thanks for that.”
What advice would you give to students that are preparing to start their future?
“Be passionate about SOMETHING! Apathy and complacency have taken over much of the younger generations. That needs to change. Find something you love and pursue it. Don’t care about the money, because then you’ll only be rich and miserable. Money doesn’t buy happiness, it just buys stuff to distract you from how unhappy you are.
I would also like to add that just because a word ends in a vowel does NOT mean it requires an apostrophe to make it plural.”