In a world where education is becoming increasingly staid and prosaic, it always helps to remind ourselves of some inspiring stories of some educators, students, and institutions. A lot of people have probably watched these three films. They are not new. But they will always be FRESH, and my absolute favorites.
Good Will Hunting, the Academy Award Winning film where an unusually talented janitor at MIT is discovered and guided by Robin Williams’s character.
The original, the precursor to School Of Rock; in my view Mr.Holland’s Opus is one of the most moving, uplifting films about a Music Teacher wonderfully portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss, proving how beautifully cathartic teaching can be, and what an impact a great teacher, albeit an ordinary mortal, can make in a student’s life!
The English Teacher in this case, played once again by Robin Williams, inspires his students to look at poetry from a completely unique perspective, helping his students discover themselves in the process. Dead Poets Society’s Mr.Keating leaves an indelible impression!
These masterpieces are easily available on blueray and dvd. Buy them, rent them, WATCH them, AGAIN!
A student of mine recently confided in me. The things he/she shared awakened me to a startling reality. What kind of an environment are we subjecting our children to? The student said his/her peer group at school had boycotted him! Why? Because he failed to solicit the latest model of a cellular phone from his parents, his ‘lesser’ phone, falling a mile short of ‘cool’. To add to these woes, he/she had expressed no plans or desire to prepare for the SAT and subsequently study abroad. This, proved to be the final nail in the coffin! How could this kind of blasphemy be pardoned? Promptly, his ‘uncoolness’ was punished as he/she was struck out of the ‘gang’.
Is it just I who finds this ABSURD? I too attended a school that is sometimes dubbed elitist. I don’t remember being antagonized for who I was and where I came from! Rich or poor, intelligent or average, tall or short, we were ALL the SAME.
It got me thinking. Could this undeniably unhealthy situation be related more to kids’ parents, rather than to the kids themselves? Are we as parents doing the right thing? Instilling the correct values? Being good examples and role models? Or could it perhaps be that we have lost our path? That in our tearing hurry and desperation to demonstrate that we have ‘arrived’, we might have, unwittingly, unintentionally, misguided our children?
I’m not sure. But it is certainly food for thought. In the meantime, don’t we owe it to our children to ensure that we create an atmosphere that is COMPLETELY FREE of judgment? A place, at home and at our schools, where our children aren’t burdened by banal issues like brands & defining themselves through them? A habitat where experimentation, discovery, self-expression are uninhibited and unstoppable?
We grew up in a simpler time, where we were footloose and fancy-free. Shouldn’t we decide for our children’s sake, JUDGMENT BE DAMMED!?