A New Hope

from wikipedia.com

I am a big fan of the Star Wars movies and have had a love affair with the intergalactic stories since I was a small child. Recently, I was watching for the _(fill in huge number)_millionth time, EpisodeIV: A New Hope. For the three people on the planet that have not seen this movie, it is essentially a story of the Jedi (good guys) gaining power and opposing the Empire (bad guys) with a plethora of light sabers and blasters. In the title, A New Hope, it is apparent that the people of the galaxy will finally have hope against the oppressive Empire.

Lately, I have been watching, reading and following numerous conversations and discussions about the state of public education in our country. There is sadly, a great deal of negativity and anger in these discussions and interactions. I have to admit I have taken part in some of these and vented my frustration and disappointment at some of the circumstances public education has found itself in. Many of these discussions end with finger pointing at the bad students, bad teachers or bad parents. Let’s be honest, there is no shortage of things to complain about or things to point at.

However, with all that, I see hope in many places and I fear too many of us are looking past them.

Yes, kids are hurting other kids and causing physical and emotional harm. There appears to be little empathy and compassion left in our schools. Yet, I sit in a classroom right now with a handful of 6th grade boys who all shaved their heads. Why? They are showing support for a classmate who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Is that not empathy and compassion?  I also recently came across this short video that fills me with hope for the future of our country and in humanity. Clearly there are good students out there that want to make a positive difference in their communities.


There are also a lot of negative feelings towards parents of our nation’s kids and how they are parenting. I myself have sat and wondered how some parents could do some of the things they have done to their children or to kids in general. However, my good friend Jeremy Macdonald sent me the video below that literally brought me to tears and filled me with hope. There are incredibly selfless parents and teachers out there that inspire me and this man is but one of them.

The amount of negativity in the world is almost overwhelming at times. The Empire will not win and the Jedi will return! Or at least, the good people in our world will continue to do good, inspire others and bring us hope. What are you doing or seeing that fills you with hope for our future in education and in humanity. Please share!


Lindquist said...

Hi Josh. I just shared (literally posted a few minutes before I read yours) on my blog my students are starting to do the extra work and enjoy what they are doing more and more, and it inspired me to write all of my editors "thank you notes". Hopefully, it might inspire them to do the same for others!

You can see my post here:


mshertz said...

I can never get enough Star Wars!

The line from that movie that always gives me hope is when Leia says, "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

The defiance, pride and bravery that the Princess shows in that scene is how we all should be in the face of situations that seem impossible and negativity that seems so powerful.

But maybe I'm just *that* much of a space nerd :)

Tony Baldasaro said...

Josh, as usual a wonderful post.
I'm wondering if one of the trademarks of our very best teachers is that they not only see hope in the most desperate of circumstances, but they foster that hope in those that can't.

@educatoral said...

In my school I am seeing many of our students working to apply Rachel's Challenge. Our ASB has many senators who are as involved as the executive council so it's a strong group of many students trying to make our school a better place. And it shows!

I'm seeing the light side overcoming the dark side! The force is strong with them filling me with happiness as well as hope. :)

Janet Abercrombie said...

A couple of my favorite groups to watch:

You are correct. We need to keep sharing these stories.

Richard Baylis said...

Hi Josh, i teach at a small country primary school in New Zealand (a slightly different setting i know) and felt I had to comment on this wonderful post. Yes there is negativity in the world, but we as teachers can go a long way to fixing it one kid at a time. Treating each student as they are or who they could be, not what they or anyone else necessarily thinks of them, is the best way to start. How to see if you've been successful? Go for a walk in the playground during breaktimes and watch the interactions taking place and you will always be pleasantly surprised with just how many positive interactions/positive things taking place. An example springs to mind of a student who'd had a lot of trouble in the past with making positive behaviour choices while in class. During the lunchtime break here was this same student having running races and helping another younger autistic boy at school make appropriate behaviour choices. When I praise him for it and explained the impact he had on that student, it helped improve his overall behaviour and attitude to his own learning. It was only small but it did big things for both those students. I think there are many positive things happening all the time, unfortunately they are almost always overshadowed by the negative.

Anonymous said...

Great post and something great to bring up. I think so much anymore the wonderful things our students are doing are not celebrated enough. Unfortunately, we continue to hear in the media about how public schools are failing on test scores and bullying is running rampant. However, when you step into many schools, you are able to see the wonderful things happening. We had a great example at my school during the first semester. We had a new student with a special need moving into our district. He was born without ears and looks a little different then the rest of our students. Many of the school staff was concerned how our students would react because we are a full inclusion school so our new students would be joining everyone else. When the new student arrived, he was accepted as any other new student would be and has fit in quite nicely. We have had many students wanting to learn sign lanquage and help this student get settled in to our school. It is so nice to see students go out of their way to welcome our new students.