The first few weeks of school are bittersweet; they mark the end of summer and yet a return to what teachers love to do: make a profound impact in the lives of students.
Here are our favorite 9 videos to inspire teachers at the start of a school year:
1. The first is from 2008, but is well worth replaying no matter how many times you've watched it. Dalton Sherman, then a fifth grader, addressed 20,000 educators in Dallas, TX. He told them, using a rhetorical style as convincing as you'll ever hear:
"here’s the deal: I can do anything, be anything, create anything, dream anything, become anything, because you believe in me, and it rubs off on me. In some cases, you're all we've got."
The video of Dalton's speech has been viewed nearly 1 million times.
2. One of our favorite themes is that we need to expect more of students. We OWE it to students to expect more of them. While we've written about this many times, the message is even more powerful when it comes from a student herself.
4. OK, enough of telling you things, it's time to show you. Here is a beautiful, oft-watched video of a 6 year-old autistic girl playing the piano and singing "Firework" with Katy Perry. While few human beings can watch this performance without welling up or actually bursting into tears, the most powerful message is delivered by the girl's father, at the 2:48 mark. WRITE DOWN THESE WORDS and practice them with each and every child you have the blessed opportunity to influence.
5. We're not done showing you that kids can greatly exceed our expectations. In this video, Richard Turere explains how, as a young boy in Kenya with few resources, he devised an invention that prevented lions from killing his family's livestock, using a car battery, a directional signal from a motorcycle and some broken flashlights. The invention is now used througout Kenya. Share this with your students!
If they find it hard to follow along, click here to see a version with subtitles.
6. Last spring, Rita Pierson delivered a Ted Talk titled "Every Kid Needs a Champion." She proclaims that what students need most is teachers who, like those discussed above, are willing to be a champion for them, to love them and insist that they be the best they can be. Tragically, Rita died a few months later. This video, and the thousands of kids and teachers she influenced, are her legacy.
It was a tour de force that should be mandatory viewing in every school of education in the world. Our partner Angela Maiers wrote this post about Rita's talk on Huffington Post.
7. Last spring, Jeff Bliss, a high school student in Duncanville, TX, attracted global attention when he stormed out of his classroom, exploding in frustration at an environment that Lisa Nielsen characterized as one where the teacher's job is "to create a sterile environment, distribute packets, read instructions, keep kids quiet, and collect their papers at the proper time." Bliss' antics, railing against the heartless nature of this teaching, were captured on an iPhone and published on YouTube.
9. In June 2011, Angela Maiers delivered this talk at TedXDesMoines titled "You Matter." Two years and 105,000 views later, it has given birth to the global movement "Choose2Matter," on which Dulcinea Media has partnered with Angela. Follow our Facebook page to keep track of a wave of exciting announcements and developments coming in the next few months. For now, sit back and enjoy the talk that gave birth to it all.
(Note: the video freezes at times, but the audio continues uninterrupted. This is not your computer freezing, it is the video itself).
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