Over the last two weeks I was very lucky to have been part of some tremendous student interview sessions. As we’ve gone through the scholarship application process we’ve had a number of well qualified Year 6 and Year 9 students come in for interviews. I’ve never been through this experience before and, to be perfectly honest, it’s been the absolute best way to finish a school day that I’ve ever experienced. These kids have hopes and dreams and are bubbling with energy and spirit, it’s truly awesome and inspiring.
As these interviews continued though, I did notice something that started to worry me just a little bit. See, the Year 6 students had all sorts of really big ambitions that stretched well into the future and beyond their school years, hopes and dreams they’d clearly spent a lot of time thinking about. However, as we started talking with the Year 9 students something changed, the ambitions we had heard from the Year 6 students were missing. The hopes and dreams of the Year 9 students we spoke to were focused on academic grades and short term targets. Where had the big dreams gone?
To be fair, it is reasonable to expect our older students to be more focused on the task before them and be thinking about what they need to accomplish in order to reach the university destination of their choice. I’m 100% confident that our older students still have ambitious hopes and dreams but they’re not gushing over them like our Year 6 students. I want that to change, my hope is that our older kids continue to dream big and think about the amazing possibilities for them in this world.
It may well be the case that our older students have buried those hopes and dreams, begun to consider them as ‘childish’ or ‘silly’. We know, however, that those hopes and dreams are what provide the fuel to keep on working and battling through the tough times. Without a long term goal, something to ‘dream big’ about, what are our students working toward?
As their teachers, mentors, advisors, and role models we need to show these kids that their hopes and dreams are just as important today as they were when they were in Year 6 looking up at the stars and thinking about all the amazing possibilities that lie out there in the great wide world. So no matter what year level they are in, engage your students in conversations about their hopes and dreams. Share your ambitions with your students as well, open up and let them see that it’s totally normal to have big dreams!
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – Yoko Ono
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.” – Belva Davis
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” – Jonas Salk