Day 4 of the April Blog a Day challenge is to think about a moment in your teaching experience where there was a “connection” between you and a student or group of students that resonated beyond content.
My challenge is to limit that to one moment. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that I have a soapbox named ‘relationship’ and I’m on that soapbox often.
I teach grade 5 one day a week. The other four days the class is lead by an incredibly gifted, albeit rather newish – she’s the age of my middle child – teacher, Mrs. T. She has worked tenaciously to create a class of connection, caring, mutual respect and most importantly for 10 year olds…FUN! I get to be at the helm on Mondays, as well as an hour on Thursdays for library. Those times are highlights in my week.
Most of our students are tech savvy and are eager for opportunities to create. One boy in particular has combined tech and creativity to write, direct, edit, and produce two digital class movies. I am in awe of his work. Think future Oscar winner.
These movies are a parody of our class. We are all, yes all of us, represented by lego-like figures, each with an uncanny likeness to our humanness. We watched the sequel on Thursday morning. It was amazing. We laughed, we cried, we ooo’d and ah’d. We did so as a connected family. It touched my heart to observe how every one in the room was engaged, watching with wonder and admiration. These movies take this lad weeks to produce. The music alone, which is an astounding mood match to the plot, must have taken him days to choose, edit, and sync to the action. This was not an assignment, not genius hour, not passion project…this was learning, creating and doing just because. I know…WOW!
Near the end of the movie, the Perrionator, aka, Mrs. Perry, set up a sequence of events that led to the freeing of some students who had been held captive. One heroic student lost his life in order for freedom to occur. As I said, there were tears. When we thought it was over, the plot was concluding, that heroic student kicked his way out of the grave to the loud cheers of his real life classmates. Powerful!
Note: I was watching this the day before Easter weekend and was reminded of resurrection power, which I’m positive was not the intent of our young creator, but I was THAT captivated.
The power of connection, the relationship our students have with each other and their teachers, made room for all of us to bear witness to the creativity of a classmate/student. Risk-taking at its finest.
At the end of the day, we got autographs and this young fellow has been told in no uncertain terms who – his teachers, of course – to include in his thank you speech when he wins his first of many Oscars.
Relationship + trust + connection + safety + risk taking = Joy…or something like that!