Something out of the ordinary…
Since I started doing observations in Belleville, MI back in 2005, it has been important that my instruction, at times, has something out of the ordinary. To present about a new (to me, borrowed from my AVID colleague, Andrea Linan) project in my AVID 11 class at Eastlake High School, I decided to make my shirt part of the presentation, my something out of the ordinary.
The project would call for students to make a 5-7 minute presentation analyzing any song that had a social message. My example to present would be using Annie Lennox’s “Sing.” The song, a commentary and call to action on the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa, was inspired from Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Non-Profit Organization – 466/64 was his prisoner number as well. During a fundraiser, Ms. Lennox saw an HIV/AIDS activist wearing a shirt that said “I AM HIV POSITIVE.” That is what gave me my out of the ordinary to start my presentation with images and text displayed on my shirt. It was something a little bit different, something out of the ordinary.
It got my student’s attention. Through this project, I got to see a bit more of my student’s personality as they picked songs important to them. We got to hear the Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the Love?,” twice, though with different analysis. My students were singing along to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, a song almost twice my student’s age.
I learned that sometimes your need to make things a bit different, a bit out of the ordinary to grab student’s attention, to hook them with a new lesson, project or chapter. What that is or looks like varies from teacher to teacher and their comfort level. It affords us the opportunity to show a bit more of our personality. It gives teachers an opportunity to show why we went into teaching in the first place; to inspire to be extra-ordinary.
Trevor S. Angood is a teacher (and alumni) of Eastlake High School currently teaching AVID 9/10/11 and Human Geography. Prior to his hire at Eastlake, he was a 7th Grade World History teacher at a STEM focused charter school, where he was also the EdTech Coordinator, Archery Coach and DC Trip lead.