Teaching during a pandemic has not been easy on educational staff, students, or families. One of the most pivotal changes has been that of the relationships between education workers and students. In Adolescents at School: Perspectives on Youth, Identity, and Education the many contributors share their thoughts and research along with the voices of youth on issues impacting young people including racism, immigration, model minorities, gender identity, 2SLGBTQI+, social status, ableism, spirituality, and more. One fundamental theme emerged quickly in the text—the role of the education worker’s relationship with students and the impact these various relationships have. Editor, Michael Sadowski, had this to say: “All adolescents strive to connect with others and to feel a positive sense of who they are. The task of identity development is, and probably always will be, central to the ‘work’ of being an adolescent and, therefore, to the work of educators
as well,” (p. 8).
As we return to our classrooms this fall, both in-person and virtually, we have an opportunity to renew those relationships—whether as coach, mentor, trusted adult, or just the consistent person who genuinely gets to know the students in their care. I found the variety of essays, commentaries, and youth perspectives to not only be a great refresher of social justice knowledge, but also, a challenge to do better in a good way. A reminder of many of the issues youth are dealing with in and out of school, and how it spills over into their availability to learn. I’m looking forward to implementing the 10 principles of practice the editor challenges all to do this fall when I welcome my new students back to the classroom. I challenge you to pick up this book and join me!