Friday, October 09, 2009

Hopes & Fears

Okay, yes, this post is about six weeks late, but that should tell you how crazy this year has been that only now in October have I had the 10 minutes it took to transcribe this list onto my computer.

I wanted to kick off the school year by acknowledging for my ninth grade advisory the magnitude of the experience they were beginning. It's exciting, it's scary, it's overwhelming. And as a 14 year-old for whom image is everything, the last thing you want to do is publicly admit all these emotions. So on our second day of school, I had each student anonymously write down hopes and fears that they had for the new year (I contributed too) and then we read each other's aloud.

In general, the hopes and fears were about making new friends and getting good grades, but here are the ones that stood out to me the most:

I hope I can get rid of my stage fright
I hope when I’m a senior, I remember today (obviously, if I am still at this school in four years, this is going in the speech I make at graduation)
I hope I don’t hate this school (I didn't write this one, but it could have easily been mine)
I hope I leave next year
I hope that I pass in math class (this was interesting because it was the only hope or fear that referenced a specific class)

I fear that I will not graduate
I fear dying
I fear loneliness
I fear that my friends at another school will forget me
I’m fearful of messing up someone’s name
I fear I’m gonna like it here (another one that could have been mine)
I fear I could get in a fight with someone
I fear missing old friends or making new ones
I fear getting mounds of homework
I fear that I won’t make as close of friends as I did in middle school
I fear getting flunked (lots of kids had something like this one, but the stark-ness of the word "flunked" just broke my heart)
I fear that I’ll be made fun of because of how I dress

Pretty deep, huh?

I told them that we'd revisit these later in the year. I you have any ideas about a good structure for doing that, please let me know.

1 comment:

Roni said...

Start collecting their observations about pleasant surprises. Do this often. When mid-year, or even the end of the year, comes, bring out the fear cards and the surprise cards. If their fear isn't directly addressed by a pleasant surprise (i.e., if their math class isn't as bad as they had hoped), perhaps there is something there on paper that they can use to confront their fear.
Perhaps what was a pleasant surprise for one kid can spark ideas in another about how to cope with some of those very real fears.