Friday, March 31, 2017

O Captain My Captain

Do you remember Dead Poets' Society? I  love this movie.

Remember this moment?
John Keating is one of my teaching heroes, and I've used many clips from the movie in class this year. After my first week of teaching, my friend/almost daughter Ashley sent me this text:

Teaching this year has made my life (in the words of John Keating) "extraordinary." I love almost every moment. I never anticipated how I love each of the students like they are my own and want all good things for them in class and in life. They are incredible, and the touch my heart daily with their passion, their insight, their humor, and their goodness.

It's been life changing, and I don't use that term lightly.

Here's the thing.

A week ago, I actually lived a movie moment in my classroom--the "O Captain, My Captain" moment shown above (minus the me packing my stuff and getting fired part, thankfully).

One of my students spearheaded a standing on desks moment. It was surreal. I stood by and listened as he told of ways I had taught them all this year--him in particular. I wish someone had a video of it, because I was so shocked that I can't remember all that was said. As he spoke, he walked to the back of the classroom and stood behind one of the desks.

"As a tribute to Mrs. Denton and her teaching . . . "

he stood up on the desk

". . . I say, O Captain, My Captain. And I challenge any of the rest of you to stand on your desks as well."

Half of the class stood on their desks, and many of them spoke of what they've learned in my class this year--writing skills, trust in themselves and in others.

And with that, he walked out of the classroom.

I watched him leave with my mouth gaping open and my heart overflowing with gratitude for the kids I teach. Even writing about it now brings tears to my eyes.

It was a moment I never expected and one I will treasure for the rest of my life . . .

. . . the moment I lived one of my favorite movies.

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