Last week when I wrote about hopes and dreams I shared my concern that our older students were burying their big dreams as they focused on grades/marks and short term possibilities. I’ve spent the last week continuing to ponder this idea and speaking with some of our older students to help gain more insight into this phenomenon. Last weekend, at an event hosted by one of our very own Year 10 students, I found what I think is the reality of the situation for our older students.
Our older students still have plenty of big hopes and dreams, in fact they may even have more thought out and detailed versions of them than the younger students. They, however, feel like they can’t share them for fear that they will be squashed or not accepted by peers or adults in their lives. This is a big problem!
At MatchStiX, an event hosted by one of our Year 10 students as part of her Personal Project, I was fortunate to see short presentations by a few very impressive young Surabayans. Emily, a 15 year old student at another school in town, shared her story of becoming a successful singer and songwriter. She explained that it was her dream to write and sing her own songs and that she “sang often but always sang alone.” This piece of her story, one of many from a very inspiring presentation, really hit home hard for me. Emily had a passion and a dream but was fearful of sharing it with others because she was worried that it/she wouldn’t be accepted. Fortunately she did, eventually, share her talent and it was warmly accepted by most everyone. However, Emily had to go through this journey alone because she was scared to share her hopes and dreams, imagine if she would’ve been confident and supported throughout her journey.
Another speaker at MatchStiX was Jessica, a local entrepreneur who started her own baking business. Jessica had hopes and dreams that were supported by her parents until one day they spoke with her teachers and principals at her school (not Sekolah Ciputra). Jessica’s teachers and principals convinced her parents, who had already committed a lot of money toward her dream, that pursuing a career in fashion design was a terrible decision even though it was Jessica’s dream. Her parents completely dropped all support of Jessica and her dream, she was crushed and totally lost all hope. It took Jessica three more years before she found a new pursuit, another dream she was passionate about chasing. She wanted to become a chef, with a particular interest in baking. Unfortunately, her parents were not supportive of this idea at all and forced her, once again, away from her dream. Jessica’s story has a happy ending, she found a way for her dream to come true. As I mentioned, Jessica owns her own baking business. However, hearing Jessica’s story of being pushed back time and again by the very people who are supposed to be supporting her dreams really gave me pause as an educator.
What are we doing to support our students’ dreams and help them become reality? There are definitely some things that we are doing as an institution to help our students reach these lofty goals, but what about individually? As teachers we can be talking with our students and learning about their hopes and dreams, encouraging them to pursue their passions, and sharing our own stories of chasing our dreams. Start today, take some time to think about your dreams that you’ve made come true and share a story or two with your students. Inspire someone by sharing your story, and don’t ever stop pursuing your own dreams!