Thursday Appointment is an Iranian short film by a 20 year old director that won an award at the Luxor Film Festival. Though many of us may not understand the language, we can certainly comprehend the messages of kindness and forgiveness. I am adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Students Pinterest Board. Once you’ve watched it, you may want to click here to better understand the tradition that makes this film so beautiful. This could also lead to a classroom discussion regarding customs in different cultures. I am including the original and a dubbed version here.
While trying to find some inspiring holiday videos this year, I came across this Macy’s commercial from 2015. Even though it’s ironic for an advertisement to be about selflessness, I like the simple message of kindness. For other videos you might want to consider for this time of year, you can check out this post. Also, I keep a Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students here.
About 4 years ago, I had one of those crazy-ideas-that-sounds-good-because-you-haven’t-really-thought-through-all-of-the-obstacles. In a nutshell, I invited the parents of my students (I teach a GT pull-out program, K-5) to send in videos of themselves telling their children how much they matter to them. I used Aurasma Studio to create augmented reality experiences so that whenever the students scanned their parents’ pictures in their folders, they would see and hear the video of encouragement and love.
The project turned out to be much harder than I expected, but the results were good. The students were surprised and excited, and I learned a lot more about them and their families through the videos that I received. However, by the end of the year the novelty was gone and I suspected most of the printed parent pictures needed to trigger the videos got thrown away with all of the other school supplies that were zealously surrendered in order to make room for summer fun. In my mind, the “You Matter” Augmented Reality Project was something I was grateful I had done but would probably never choose to do again.
Flash forward to last school year. One of my 5th grade students lost his mother in a tragic accident that stunned the whole community. In the usual way that we try to comfort people who have suffered such a loss, I attended the rosary and told my student that I would be “there for you.” I felt more useless than I ever have in my teaching career.
But then I remembered that this young man was in my class years ago when I did the “You Matter” project. I went home and searched my Aurasma account for his mother’s video. It had been one of my “obstacles” at one point because she was late with the video and then wasn’t sure how to send it to me. But it eventually arrived. And, years later, it was still stored in my account.
I downloaded the video to a USB drive. A few weeks later, I called the student to my room, and explained to him what was in the envelope I was giving him. I told him that he may not be ready to watch it now, but that it would be there for him when he needed to remember how much his mother loved him. He took the envelope from me, smiled through his tears, and walked away.
He may never watch the video. He may lose the USB drive or delay watching it until USB drives are obsolete (but that’s okay, because I have several different backups now!) . But instead of voicing hollow platitudes I was able to genuinely express how much he mattered to me by making a small effort to remind him how much he mattered to his mother.
A few lessons learned from this experience:
Never expect that people “just know” they matter. What you say to them and how you treat them are equally important.
Educators (and parents) often don’t see the positive effects of our actions. We should never regret the efforts we put into something that seemingly did not have the results we expected – as long as we know we were trying to do what is best for kids.
Time developing relationships is never wasted time.
As the beginning of the school year approaches for many of us, I urge you to do all that you can to let students know that they matter to you. Not so test scores will improve or behavior issues will decrease. But because:
In yesterday’s post, I wrote about an inspirational video about kindness that is featured in a series produced by StoryCorps and Upworthy called #WhoWeAre. Today I want to share another video from that series about the unusual way a man handled being robbed at knife-point. It may not be one that you should show younger students, but is definitely great for 5th grade and up. The video is a good reminder that empathy can often be much more powerful than anger or fear.
In this recent story that I heard on NPR, the host stated that a survey conducted by the group behind Sesame Street found that most parents would choose having children who are kind over having children who get good grades. Of course, teaching children to be kind does not work if it isn’t modeled for them. Behaving kindly ourselves can go a long way toward cultivating this in our children. It also helps when they hear and see real-life stories of kindness.
Larry Ferlazzo recently published a post about a StoryCorps/Upworthy collaboration that is producing videos for a campaign called, #WhoWeAre. There are a couple of videos that really reflect amazing kindness, and I wanted to share one of them today. I’m going to call it, “The Bus Driver,” since there doesn’t appear to be an actual title for the video other than its description.
We have a tendency to laud the men and women who make headlines with their fame and/or fortune. But it is people like the bus driver in this short story who are the true heroes of the world.
For more inspirational videos for students, click here.
This week, I’ve decided to reblog some of my more popular posts with some updates. The post below has remained in the top 5 ever since I published it. Beneath it, I’ve decided to add a few other favorites.
#3: The Power of Words – I also mentioned this in yesterday’s post of Inspirational Videos for Teachers. It is good for everyone, in my opinion, to be more thoughtful about what we say. If our communication is not having the effect we desire, we should reconsider the way we are choosing to deliver our message.
#2: The Kindness Boomerang – I have never done a post on this one. I read about it recently on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day, and knew right away that I would like to add it to my blog. Although it is somewhat simplistic, it does show how our actions can effect many more people than we will ever know.
#1: Times of India Tree Ad – This is a powerful video that shows how important one person can be in effecting change. It says a lot – without any words.
#1: Caine’s Arcade – I never get tired of this video, and I’m always making people watch it when I hear they have never heard of it! I think, in many ways, Nirvan Mullick and Caine have inspired me to be the teacher I am today. Once you watch this, you will definitely want to learn more about the Global Cardboard Challenge.