Dear families of TTS38,
I write from Prescott, Arizona where our group is spending our last few days together. Academics have nearly wrapped up and we are moving into a phase that I like to call “transference”—where we take what we’ve learned over the past few months and reflect on how to transition that learning home..
I just attended a wonderful parent zoom call with Drew and Aunge and I highly recommend watching the recording if you weren’t able to attend! In this letter, I want to share a bit from the teachers’ perspective about what students are thinking in considering the return home.
These three and a half months together have been a powerful time for all of us! Our group thrived in asking the big questions, digging into why the world is the way it is– questions about social justice; about how we treat those different from ourselves; about economics and government; about how to build meaningful lives and communities; and about where our world is going and our personal role in it, both through our personal actions and through larger, systemic actions. Students have had experiences in an incredible array of cultures, ecosystems, and communities. School has been largely hands-on, place-based, and experiential, and they’ve built relationships with teachers that likely look very different than student-teacher relationships at home. Your student’s biggest learning might come in the weeks after returning home and experiencing contrast between who they are now and who they were fifteen weeks ago. We hope that in the days following your student’s arrival, you can slowly find the time to ask them about the huge variety of their experiences and the perspectives on the world that they gained from these past few months.
As part of our transference process, students wrote some of their anticipated challenges in returning home, and we grouped these into categories. We wanted to share those categories, along with a few anonymous student quotes so that you can have a sense of what our group is thinking about in preparation for returning home.
- “I worry about my friends being on their tech all the time and I won’t want to.”
- “People will try to push me to use my phone.”
- “Going back to the same social media apps and the culture of those apps.”
What will I do with myself at home?
- “Not being able to handle loneliness at home.”
- “When I get bored of my home.”
- “Normal school = scary.”
I’ve changed a lot and they’ve changed without me
- “I’m afraid people will have gotten used to me not there, so they won’t need me like they used to.”
- “I’m worried that I’ll talk too much about TTS and be annoying.”
- “I’m afraid that I will be left out because of how much I’ve missed.”
- “Talking to my friends about TTS and them not fully understanding.”
Losing community, losing touch
- “Fear of losing contact with the members of the group.”
- “Missing here too much.”
- “I worry I’ll slowly lose contact with people from the semester.”
- “I don’t want to forget all of the memories from TTS.”
As a group, we have spent time workshopping specific strategies to cope with these challenges. We plan to type up these strategies to send home with students so they have something to refer to upon returning home.
In the coming days, each student will also create a transition plan for their immediate shift in environment, as well as their goals for the coming weeks and months. We encourage you to use these plans as a touchstone to connect to your student’s experience and hopes for the future. We know that they will appreciate your help and support as they move forward in the effort of integrating their learning into a life that encompasses both new and old interests, perspectives, values, and ways of being.
Know that while we have spent time discussing and unpacking concerns, students are also excited to return home for many, many reasons! They miss their families and friends, are ready for a change in pace, and are very much looking forward to sleeping past 7 AM and eating familiar foods 🙂
I also just want to say a huge THANK YOU to families for trusting us with your students this semester! It has been a joy.
With love and care,
Madeleine (and Biz, Malia, and Becky)