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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dead Poets' Society

I borrowed the movie "Dead Poets' Society" from the local library this weekend. I vaguely remember liking this movie when it came out and I have always been a fan of Robin Williams.

Interestingly, this movie fits perfectly into the puzzle I am putting together about the future of my career. Robin Williams character is a very compelling and somewhat mysterious teacher who manages to captivate the imagination of his students. 

This seems to me to be the kernel I am searching for as I continue my adjustment to working with adolescents.

I recently conducted a very interesting survey of my students using Surveymonkey. com. I modeled the survey after the ones used in my university class. The students answered the questions anonymously, many of them dealing with issues of their perception of my motivation and ability as a teacher.

The results, to say the least, were far more negative than I initially predicted. My students feel that I am competent but somewhat uncaring. THAT MOST DEFINITELY IS NOT THE THE PERSON I FEEL INSIDE OF ME NOR THE PERSON I ASPIRE TO BE.

I have been spending the last month considering what assumptions I bring to the class and how I convey these to my students. 

I realize that I cannot "expect" respect as much as earn it from them. I can make them do any number of tasks, but I cannot "make" them like the class or my teaching style.

The down-side to Robin William's character is that he was almost too revolutionary and in his attempts to inspire his students, he failed to see them as individuals dealing with their own inner turmoils and conflictive families.

I want to inspire. 

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