August 10, 2018 What Our Educators Have to Say...

We asked local educators their advice for today’s youth.

What’s one piece of advice you’d like to give a child entering high school?

Turn your phone off during the day and introduce yourself to a student you don’t know.
-Christopher Schell. Middle School Teacher, Creative Montessori School

Relax...It’s going to be ok.
-Zachary Barnes. Principal, Homewood High School

Relax, everyone is in the same boat you are in. Make a point to make new friends! Try out lots of new activities! Enjoy--it goes FAST!!
-Christie Morman. AP Psychology, Homewood High School

From clubs, athletics, to volunteering you can truly find your niche. And of course, when a teacher gives you a deadline begin right away and don’t delay. The emotional pressure of a last-minute cram session impedes what you are able to retain or produce.
-Courtney Nelson. Dir. Social Emotional Learning, Birmingham City Schools

Don’t be so concerned with what people are thinking about you. The truth is people aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves. We are all uniquely made and gifted in different ways. Why waste your time trying to be like everybody else? Be confident and rejoice in who you are.
-Keith Brown. Pre-AP English 9 and Varsity Baseball, Homewood High School

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Is there one thing that stands out as changing from this

generation of kids, compared to your generation? It’s amazing to see how much technology has changed and how it has affected the way students communicate with each other on a daily basis.
-Zachary Barnes. Principal, Homewood High School

The children of this generation, in general, seem more stressed than the children of my generation.
-Peter Gamble. PE Teacher, Creative Montessori School

The shrinking of the adult-child hierarchy. There’s so much more knowledge at the fingertips of today’s youth because they are so adept in technology, and it’s reduced the gap between adult and child. Sometimes, knowledge is power and with power comes entitlement.
-Courtney Nelson. Dir. Social Emotional Learning, Birmingham City Schools

Access to information for good or ill. Just a few years ago, if you really wanted to learn something you had to go research it in the library or ask your friends/parents/teachers about it. Now, you can sit at a computer or pull out a phone and look up anything. It also makes for much more politically aware and active teenagers.
-Sara Glassman. Librarian, Creative Montessori School

What are the consequences of social media on today’s youth?

There are no secrets with social media. Once you put it out there, you can’t get it back.
-Zachary Barnes. Principal, Homewood High School

It’s become a huge distraction. We are too trusting of these venues as sources of information and we oftentimes forget that what we do or say on social media never goes away. It’s presenting an additional outlet for children to bully each other and exposes our youth to inappropriate issues and things too soon. Is it a way to expand our world? Yes, but as with anything, moderation and supervision are essential.
-Courtney Nelson. Dir. Social Emotional Learning, Birmingham City Schools

Social media isn’t inherently bad, but the youth of today can get to the point where they are obsessed with the culture of “likes.” Your worth comes from how you treat others, not from the number of likes you get on social media.
-Peter Gamble. PE Teacher, Creative Montessori School

The consequences are both positive and negative. In many ways they are the most connected generation: instant access to news, friends, and the world. On the flip side, it can be hard to disconnect and to live in the moment. No one’s life is Instagram-ready at every moment, so that can lead to feelings of inadequacy and alienation when one’s life doesn’t match what one sees online. Being honest and aware of this duality is important for mental health and contentment.
-Michelle Cooley. AP 11 English, Homewood High School

Way too much information that typically isn’t positive! Loss of face to face communication and true friendships.
-Christie Morman. AP Psychology, Homewood High School

Has there been a moment when a student has surprisingly

impressed you? I am pleasantly surprised by the character and thoughtfulness that so many students have when discussing matters that seem to bring out the worst in some adults.
-Michelle Cooley. AP 11 English, Homewood High School

I am impressed daily by so many young men and women. Students’ ability to problem solve and effectively manage the roller coaster ride that is “high school” truly amazes me.
-Zachary Barnes. Pricipal, Homewood High School

Best excuse for not turning in homework: when I taught in San Francisco, one of my students came up to me at the beginning of class one morning and explained why she couldn’t get her homework done the night before -- it was because her dad’s private jet they were flying to Las Vegas, for a client’s dinner meeting, had too much turbulence--how do I respond to that? ;)
-Christie Morman. AP Psychology, Homewood High School