Summer is a time to gather and clean out cast-off student binders so that I can stock my closet of gently used school supplies for next year’s class. In the process, I sift through notes left behind by anonymous high schoolers. I find notes of love and friendship, even of occasional excitement (though always about something outside of our schools walls). Some of the notes are just mean, and I quickly crumple them up and hope the writer develops more kindness and empathy with age. But more often, I read voices crying out in despair, captives pleading for release.
The notes worry in the corners of my mind. Did these students write these in my class? Did I sense their frustration and intervene, or did I intensify their anguish? Are they just signs of “teenage angst” or should they serve as a wake-up call?
There are notes of boredom, that border on frantic.
And those of acceptance, leaning toward apathy
And occasionally, I even stumble across a prayer