Stories of Young People Overcoming Incredible Challenges
Teens101 was created to be a toolbox for today’s teens who may be experiencing personal life challenges or who may know someone in need of help. The video collectionof stories shows teens they are not alone and help is available. The 13 episodes in season 1 connect teens with stories and experiences of how others have overcome their challenges. Among the episodes are “Stress & Cultural Expectations: Eileen’s Story” (episode 6), “Cyberbullying: Cristina’s Story” (episode 12), and “Understanding Asperger’s: Sean’s Story” (episode 13). For parents and teachers, Teens 101 offers a directory of helpful services in their area, lesson plans to stimulate dialogue, and much more. The episodes are available in video format for purchase at a cost of $109.99 or $169.99 (digital).
My colleague and I recently formed a bilingual parent group to strengthen our relationship with our Spanish speaking families. Parents repeatedly explained that the language barrier caused them to feel that they did not have a voice. Each parent expressed a desire to feel more connected to our school. Hearing this made me think, “How can we give a voice to the voiceless in our schools?” To overcome this barrier, we brought families together to record a video. Parents shared the importance of education in their families and then expressed what they wished teachers knew about them. The video has made such a strong impact in our community that it is now shown throughout Wisconsin.
I have always been passionate about reaching the student that no one else feels they can reach or the student that is typically considered the underdog. I began to lose interest in school when I was in 7th grade. I could study and do the work if I put my mind to it, but I lost motivation quickly. I did not get that motivation back until I was a junior in college. I finally realized that I needed to get my life together. I feel like there are so many students out there like me who are lost and looking for direction. I want to be the teacher I needed at that point in my life. I wasn’t stupid, but I needed guidance to reach my full potential. Having a relationship with your students and knowing them well enough to recognize and respond to their needs is so important.
“I can’t do this, Ms. Boomsma. I just can’t.” A student of mine said this to me while we worked in the back of the room. “Kimberly can, but that’s because she’s just smarter at this kind of stuff than me.”
“You are smart! You can do anything! We’ll keep trying and working!” I said with determination.