It’ll Make Sense When You’re Older

This school year has been so great so far (can’t believe I’m on year #5!). I have left behind blogging  for now to save time to do non-work related things, but I would like to share this moment from my classroom with you all. I am teaching a “Reading Podcasts” class, which is a hit with my students. We have listened to Radiolab and This American Life, and the kids get time to explore podcasts they want to listen to. We are learning a lot and having a great time together. This week they’ll be writing letters to their former selves about what in their lives they’ve learned so far. Here is mine:

Hello former self!

I’m writing this letter because you just listened to “It’ll Make Sense When You’re Older” by This American Life. I’m writing this letter to inform you that it’s okay to ask questions about life, and it’s okay to not know the answers all the time (or get angry when other people don’t give you answers). I know that you like to know things, so I’m going to let you in on some things that you don’t know at the age of 16—ten years from now.

16 Things at 16 You Don’t Know Now, but Will in Ten Years

1. There’s a reason why they tell you not to jump, run and play on the carpet rolls at the carpet store.

2. Don’t ever apologize for being introverted, and understand that it’s a quality you have—not a handicap. 

3. Getting out of your small town is the best thing you can do for yourself, but don’t forget that you will always contain bits of it. You’ll soon realize that it was crucial to raising you right, and that going home is always necessary.

4. Believing in God may not happen distinctly, and it could take many years to develop.

5. Contemplating going to the same college to be near someone else is a waste of time.

6. Use your gut feelings when listening to overly-religious people, or people using their religion to manipulate others, and understand that you don’t have to be around them to follow God.

7. You don’t have to like your parents, but you have to contribute to your relationship with them.

8. You’re going to think that achieving is the end-game of what you’re in school for. While achieving is great (but maybe not over-achieving), take time to learn things that enrich your life earlier on (instead of senior year of college) to save your sanity.

9. Teaching is going to be hard (you already know this). Make time to enjoy it in the moment, instead of worrying if you’re teaching well enough all of the time. Share your life with your students in a way that humanizes you.

10. Getting a dog will complicate your life but will also infinitely improve it.

11. No matter how much work you put in with working out, your body will never look perfect. And striving too much will make you crazy.

12. If you have a budget and stick to it, you do not need to overly-worry about money.

13. Respond to your sisters’ text messages.

14. Do not equalize to the maturity level of the teenagers you teach. Especially when it is an adult you are dealing with.

15. You don’t have to like everybody, or care if they like you.

16. Develop a hobby that enriches you and you can’t wait to work on when you’re not at work (i.e., rock climbing!)

Your wiser self,


There are more, but I kind of liked keeping it all numerically parallel. Would you do this with your students? I think mine will benefit from reflecting on what they questioned before now and why, and what they learned. Maybe I’ll be able to share some of them from my class on here!

Hope you’re having a relaxing Labor Day!




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