While the morning was a positive experience for most students, and gave them a chance to explore the "new" building and find their classes, I couldn't help but wonder how much information was going over their heads. As students learned about homework, college applications, AP courses, and other pieces of information they wouldn't be using for years, it reminded me that while we as teachers might think something is important (i.e. literature, math, history, etc.) it's still our charge to help make the kids care about it. As much as we might think they need to know about Beowulf, or the attendance policy, they may only really care about their personal schedule and social media. The real "bridge building" isn't just welcoming students and telling them the facts, but connecting their existing experience with where we want them to me. Sometimes that means focusing less on the goal, and more on the process, which can be a culture-shift for academic-minded teachers.
Thankfully, there's only nine days left until the Class of 2016 begins to build their final bridge to graduation. Plenty to do before they're ready to leave.