As adults, we often complain about our collective children that they are lazy and entitled, and that they will not be able to fend for themselves, much less run the country.
As a teacher, I can ensure you that’s not the case. Oh sure, there are students out there who are entitled and who aren’t willing to work. But the fact is, the majority of students are going to be just fine.
As a teacher of high school seniors, I would like to highlight a few. I will not name names, so I don’t embarrass them. But believe me, these are real students.
• Student A will be attending the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology. He wants to receive advanced degrees in computer science and physics. His goal is to work in the field of quantum computing. This field essentially uses the oddities of quantum mechanics, as well as its extremely small nature, to create computers many orders of magnitude smaller and more powerful than our current computers. Considering he has already taken a number of college courses in high school, including calculus, I have no question he can do whatever he wants to do in the fields of science and computers.
• Student B also wants to go into computers, and will be attending North Dakota State University this fall. He also has joined the Army National Guard, and will serve his country, likely in an intelligence capacity, while going to school to earn his degree. He said he is also considering going to law school. I also believe he can do whatever he wants to.
• Student C will be headed to South Dakota State University in pursuit of a science degree. Her plan is to become a chiropractor. She also has been taking college courses while in high school, and I have no doubt she will succeed.
• I have taught several students who are planning on going into the health care field — nursing, physical therapy, exercise and nutrition science. Almost all of them have been working in the local care facility assisting elderly residents while finishing high school. I have no doubt they also will succeed. We need them to, because health care workers are in great need in this area.
• I have several students who want to be teachers, elementary school teachers and physical education teachers specifically. I have seen them interact with younger students, and they clearly have a knack for it. They also can succeed.
• Several students of mine are planning on doing a trade, such as welding and power line maintenance. Some of these students struggled in the traditional school environment. I’m hoping they can become engaged, get through the training, and find jobs. They certainly have the ability to succeed, and we also need them to, because workers in the trades are hard to find.
Does this sound like a bunch of entitled slackers? I’d say not. Were they all perfect students in my class? Not exactly. But as I have gotten to know them the last two years, I have come to understand that all of them can make it. Some may struggle for a while. Maybe they just need a few years on their own to understand what is important in this life. But even those students will be OK in the end.
Good luck to the seniors I have been fortunate to get to know this year. I really hope you come back to talk to me in a few years, not to tell me what a great teacher I was, but simply to tell me that you’re doing OK.
• • •
I have noticed that mask wearing has dropped dramatically in the past couple of weeks. That’s fine, if we can get our vaccine numbers above the 70% mark. Right now, about 53% of Minnesota’s residents have been vaccinated. If 70% get vaccinated, we will be considered to have “herd immunity,” and COVID-19 will have been stopped in its tracks.
For those who are holding out on getting vaccinated because of some Internet conspiracy theory you read, I have four words for you: Give me a break. Do us all a favor and go get the shot.
Joel Myhre is a resident of Fergus Falls.
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