A student emailed me to discuss some possible career options, and writing was on their mind. Coming from a family of writers, and being one myself, I was able to offer some advice.
We talked about journalism, blog writing, and other writing - how to find ideas, how to start writing, how to research, and how and where to pitch.
But then... the student kept talking. They talked about their friends, their family, what they were thinking about. It was the longest conversation I had ever had with a student.
Part of me was thinking, 'wouldn't you rather be talking to your friends instead of me?' And then it hit me: they need this. I need this.
In schools, trusted relationships are developed between the adults and the students. We, the staff, offer a myriad of guidance, advice and insight into a world that we've simply lived in longer than the students. They crave the experience. They crave our perspective because, after all, they're just starting to figure it out.
Social distancing has creating a major gap in the personal growth of young people and in all of us.
A friend recently shared that, in his work day - because he is an essential worker - he was having 30 minute conversation with people he hasn't spoken to in years. Just to connect. That's how starved we are for social interaction.
So, if your teenager is at home with you (and they should be), don't assume that just because they are sleeping in until noon and not leaving their rooms that they don't want to interact with you. They do. They need to! And they need to talk to the adults in their lives - the one's they used to see every day.
Encourage your teens to reach out to their teachers and the staff from their schools. It's the magical connection that is the secret behind teaching. It's not just about instruction. Good teaching is about building trust. It's that trust that brings students back to the classroom day after day.
So encourage your teens to talk. Get them to reach out to the adults in their lives and just... share what's going on. Because we all need that now.
Hi. My name is Stephen Tesher. I am a writer and an educator. Most importantly, I am a father. I've authored three books, staged numerous plays and written screenplays, articles, and this blog.