School started today. I was watching clips on YouTube of Dead Poets Society and a minute and half clip caught my eye. In this particular clip Robin Williams’ character gathers his students into a huddle as he knells in the center and tries to convey to them why ‘we’ read poetry and goes on to recite a poem from Walt Whitman. In the scene I’m describing, he ends his recitation by asking them simply “What will your verse be?”
I’ll preface with stating clearly how much I love this movie. It was inspirational for me as a young man who knew that he wanted to be an educator. I have always wanted to be Williams’ character for my students. Movies are great because they can show us any fantasy we wish; the truth is that I fall short of being quite the teacher the movie conveys more than I care to admit, but my passion remains just as strong. As classes begin today, I find myself hoping that I’ll help students find their verse. Something that will inspire them to change something significant about the world, themselves, their community. I wonder? I begin a new year just as hopeful as I’ve always been.
This year will be an crucial year for The Studio and may very well be the crux of how the program moves forward. We have a great plans, but we all know how the best laid plans can go. One of the strongest attributes any teacher can have is flexibility, so I approach each day with a plan, but with the dexterity to bend and move as needed. I encourage you to do the same if you’re a teacher, and especially if you’re working through the world of a PBL environment.
To all educators out there, I salute and encourage you! Here is to another year of great and exponential possibilities!