Not so long ago I was sitting in class during my prep hour waiting for the next group of 8th graders to come running through the door when a colleague came in and asked if I had any “films” she could watch with her class. She gave me the look that desperate teacher make on days when you need a back up plan. No teacher likes to admit it, but there are days when you crave to put on a movie for the kids just to catch up on grades or just give the class a break. I said sure and dug through my shelf of VHS tapes for something “educational”. Outside of watching Disney shows, engaging content specific films were often in short supply in my school.
“Biography channel” documentaries were my go to content for talking about social issues and history. I really liked to psych my kids up for the days when we would be watching and discussing them. . .and I honestly thought we made good use of them. I never thought that one day I would have a hand in making films for the class.
Fast forward about 10 years and I find myself sending copies of films I had a hand in producing to teachers across the midwest and online around the world. While I can hardly take credit for all the work that was spent making them, there are days I feel proud of what we have accomplished.
Still, I wonder if the teachers watching them really have something educational in mind or if they just need something to fill the time 🙂 I’d like to think that they are really having heartfelt discussion with the kids after each film, but even if they don’t, it’s still pretty cool to think that we have had a hand and helping out teachers in need for something that kids can really learn from.