A Note to My Students at the End of the Year

A note for my students at the end of a very strange year

Hello, students!

It looks like this is it for the school year. We finally made it. The age-old wisdom from my grandfather that all situations are temporary has proven true again - a very bizarre semester has finally ended. On to the next thing, now.

I don’t know what next year is going to look like or what we should prepare for. What I can tell you is that I’m excited to come back. If we can’t safely come back in person, I’m excited to get back together online and give this another try. We can learn from what worked and what didn’t.

Look back at this year. Take a deep breath and think about how bizarre it has been. It's okay, it's not complaining, it really has been bizarre for everyone. Some of us have lost so much, and some of us have been nearly unaffected. Some of us face losses yet to come of every sort and don't yet know it. Tomorrow can be a scary place.

Remember that what you have learned this year will help you in that tomorrow. You are still made of the same intelligence, creativity, and problem solving skills that you started the year with. All of that will help you forward too. The future is a funny thing; we think that we will be somehow less capable, less organized, less intelligent in dealing with our future problems than we have proven to be in the past. The best version of you may be in the future, but it's built of what you already have inside you. You're ready for what will come.

Please have a safe, healthy summer. Don’t give in to the temptation to believe that none of this is real just because you can’t see it. I know a lot of people have still been getting together like nothing is happening, and if you’re doing that and not getting sick, it’s just luck. This thing is a real public health risk - take a look at the globe. This wouldn’t have happened for no reason. Be careful, be safe, keep separated from people outside of your home if at all possible. It sucks, I know, but the alternative could be a whole lot worse.The virus won’t go away because you’re tired of it or because you don’t feel like it’s real.

Take care of yourselves. Normally I’d get to talk with you one more time and encourage you to stay positive, to keep on top of taking care of yourselves and others to the degrees that you can, and to keep looking forward. It’s easy to let disenchantment and disillusionment take over. Be resilient, don’t let it.

Keep tabs on what’s going on in the world. We used to do current events from time to time, and that’s when my classes were the most engaged; you all really do want to know what is happening and why, and to figure out how you feel about it. Use those sourcing skills and the critical thinking skills that we worked on all year.

Please feel free to send me email over the summer and let me know how you’re doing and/or ask questions. Maybe you’ll be working on getting ready for the next stage of your life, or maybe you read something in the news you’d like more background for. Or maybe you just found a really good history meme. I’m still here, and as always I’d love to hear from you.

Okay, that’s it. You are loved and we are thinking about you. Take care, and one way or another, I’ll see you later!