“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” -Robin Williams (as John Keating in Dead Poet’s Society)
Many of us are in shock as the news of Robin William’s death reverberates throughout the media landscape. We are in disbelief that the man who moved us with laughter in his comedy and tears in his drama is gone. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, are abuzz with condolences and remembrances. Many are posting or asking others what their favorite Robin Williams’ movie or quote was. I think teachers can easily relate to the passionate teacher he portrayed (John Keating) in Dead Poet’s Society or the insightful therapist (Dr. Sean Maguire) in Good Will Hunting. Both characters pushed young men to discover their talents and live their lives fully-a desire most of us have for our own students.
I was just beginning my teaching career when Dead Poet’s Society was released. My first year of teaching was incredibly difficult and many times I fought the urge to give up and and walk away. Though I didn’t teach preppy high school boys, I was completely inspired by this fictional teacher’s approach to life and learning. I held onto the belief that teachers do make a difference, and though they may not be rewarded by society for their efforts, the impact on the lives of their students is incredibly rewarding. I stayed in teaching.
I did not know Robin Williams personally, the characters he portrayed were not real, and yet my experiences with his work and his persona have impacted my life. Every experience we have shapes who we are. Every event, book, movie, play, poem, song, dream or relationship has an impact on who we are, how we think, how we work. I will take some time this week to revisit and remember some of those experiences he gave me, and be grateful for his talented life. I am reminded that we are only here briefly on this planet, and that every moment counts. I want to make my moments count. I want to “stand on my desk” and remember to look at things in a different way.
As we go back into our classrooms, maybe we can reflect on this, and be inspired by this. Be brave, do good things, and your body of work will live on long after you are gone.
What’s on My Book Radar
Talk about “doing good things”, this book is a testament to great teaching! I love Linda Rief. She is the real deal when it comes to walking the talk! My son is going into 8th grade and I wish she was going to be his teacher. So excited to get my hands on this book and learn from one of the best. If you use a workshop model of reading and writing in your middle grade or middle school classroom, this book is a must for your professional library!
So many books, so little time! As my summer is quickly coming to a close, there are still so many books I want to read. I Kill the Mockingbird has been one of them. Three friends try to create a buzz about reading their late teacher’s favorite book (To Kill a Mockingbird). They hatch a plan to create a shortage of the book in their community, thereby creating a demand. A perfect book for fanatic readers!
Picture Book 10 for 10 is back! Reflect and Refine blogger Cathy and Enjoy and Embrace Learning‘s Mandy have hosted this event the past 5 years. They share their top 10 “Can’t live without” picture books and invite others to post their own selections of 10 picture books. What are your “Go to” picture books that you love?