Yesterday, in class, as I walked around the room with a bass guitar strapped across me, and casually strummed while discussing students’s work on the boards with them, I realized that I was, indeed, being my own version of Jack Black from “School of Rock”. Sure, I was actually teaching the subject that the school hired me to teach, but we regularly have our moments of magical inspiration to discuss something that educates the students in an entirely different, but effective, way.
I commented about my discovery to a few students, and they grew excited about it. I jokingly began to sing about how “math is cool”, and the students declares that I should be Jack Black from “School of Rock”. I laughed, and we all shared a minute of delight at the idea, until I turned them back to their work on the boards.
The incident, though brief and seemingly inconsequential, marked something big for me. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was big.
When I first started teaching, I remember thinking, and then publicly commenting on Facebook, that one of my greatest fears in being a teacher, was being Jack Black in “School of Rock”. When I am lonely, I have tended to watch a film at night, and most nights. I was apparently in a school-related films phase, and had watched “School of Rock” shortly after watching “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. Where I had marveled at Richard Dreyfus’s character, I found utter panic and increasing dislike for Jack Black’s – one was an ideal teacher, and the other was the epitome of what not to do. I had enjoyed both films as a student, but my perspective of “teacher” had me see too many ways for Jack Black’s character to end up fired and/or imprisoned and/or forbidden from working in education ever again.
A dear friend had commented on that status in an unexpected way. Something to the effect of, ‘Are you sure you don’t mean ‘One of my greatest goals…’?’ She was not an uninformed individual, regarding education, and her comment had me truly take pause. Perhaps there was something to it, but I could hardly even consider the idea, due to how terrible so many of his actions were as a teacher.
This time…yesterday, things were different for me. When I labeled myself as Jack Black’s character, – I am currently a long-term substitute teacher, teaching math at a private school – I was actually delighted at the idea, and then surprised at my own response. What was once a dreadful idea that I could not even consider, had suddenly become an almost-ideal. I respected myself for such an idea, for my being my own version of him, that terrible teacher.
Clearly, something big has altered within me, for such an alteration to have occurred. But what?
I shall dream of it tonight…
P.S. It was a student’s bass, and I don’t even know why he had it at school…, I think.