There’s always so much we want to say to them as they walk through the gates for the last time as 12th graders. They are hungry to devour life’s possibilities, unsure of what that means. What message can we give them as they begin to take control of their future? What advice when they come out with the quote from the English exam room on October 26th pride and prejudice of Jane Austen in mind: “Until that moment I didn’t know myself,” says Elizabeth Bennet.
A statue of Saint Catherine stands at the entrance to Siena College in Camberwell. The plaque reads, “She walked in the midst of chaos and was a force to be reckoned with.” If there is only one thing we could tell you as we begin this journey, it would be that there will always be uncertainty in life. Let’s not sugarcoat things too much. Let’s give them a guide to let them know that life brings chaos, sadness and happiness in equal measure and that everything will be fine in the end.
Many young people who leave school have a longing to get to their goal, to get there. We want them to know that the journey is important too.
I recently had the opportunity to ask a group of 12th graders preparing to move on to the next phase, what were they most looking forward to?
One girl’s response was “so much”. And with that, a torrent of responses flowed, sparking a conversation that showed their excitement for the future. You could feel their enthusiasm to try things they had heard about but not yet experienced.
But when I looked over, one student’s face was a map of her mixed feelings. Stress and insecurity about the world were compounded by nearly three years of uninterrupted education at home and school. There was more fear than confidence in her future. Fear of rejection and failure in a world that she thought would be too big to understand. Soon they were speaking their fears out loud, and with every word spoken, it became a little less worrisome and a little more promising.
At the end of each year, I would give my students a card with a quote from Isaiah 49:16 that read, “I have held you in the palm of my hand.” If there was any advice we students could give if they were timid in theirs Marching future would be: We held you in the past, we will hold you in the future.
Gemma Di Bari is a Melbourne-based teacher and writer.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/fear-and-faith-as-year-12s-look-to-navigate-the-future-20221001-p5bmgb.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Fear and faith as the Twelfth attempts to navigate the future