I've been critical the past several days of a number of things, mainly directed at general education principles and policies. If I wanted to be critical about yesterday, I could do that too. I could talk about how the preschool "teachers" (i.e. the senior students) got way too upset about "saying goodbye" to their preschool children, or I could talk about how...creative and transparent some of the dancing was at the prom last night. There's plenty of material...but I'm not going to do that today. I think I'm going to hold off, because the kids are alright.
I noticed a few things yesterday that, while initially strange, were actually rather positive. To begin, despite getting way too upset about seeing their preschool students leave, it was refreshing to see the students deeply care about something. Yes, it easy to care for a cute four year old that you see for an hour each day, but it was reassuring to know these future teachers are actually will be invested in their future students lives, rather than just jumping into education because its comfortable and familiar. The seniors were overly depressed, perhaps, but now they know what it feels like when the students leave. It'll get a little easy for them each year, but it'll be a feeling they wrestle with every time. These kids, both the preschoolers and the seniors, will be alright.
Prom, of course, was prom. It's very easy to find things to laugh about at a dance (I've done it several times to the thrill and chagrin of others) but I saw some reassuring glimmers yesterday. The first was that the dance was entirely student planned and orchestrated. This isn't uncommon, but this year had the added effect of a senior DJ working the junior prom in order to make some money and get experience. The DJ, perhaps in an effort to show his musical prowess, didn't just play the modern pop/rap/hip-hop/electronic pulses-and-random-words-about-butts songs, but actually threw in a healthy dose of throwbacks from the 90's, 80's, and even the 70's. And you know what? Those are the songs the students liked the best. You had some hardcore troopers who danced at every song, sure, but the dance floor was full when "Billie Jean", "Cupid Shuffle", "Macarena", and "Dancing Queen" were played. Maybe some people were out there ironically, and maybe they just needed a break from all the gyrating, but I think we saw that, when given the right music, the kids are alright. Dances don't have to be an awkward mess of couples dancing for hours without actually facing each other. Put something fun, and colorful, and retro on and you'll find people eager for something positive.
No one likes making witty observations more than me, but sometimes you have to hold back and put them aside. In the right circumstances, and when you least expect it, the students show that they can still surprise and impress you. Perhaps "kids these days" are actually exactly the same as they've always been. Maybe the kids are alright.