I'm sorry to admit that our systems may have lost touch when it comes to inspiring students. Our system doesn't want inspired students. They want "auto-bots" who pass tests, exams and generate measurable data for politicians.
Well, don't just sit there - do something. Relief Teachers are in a perfect position. We are not as constrained as full time classroom teachers for whom measurable data is vitally important.
What a disgraceful indictment of our society that our politicians simply want to grab hold of data to put on a spreadsheet. The very leaders charged with the responsibility of educating our students really have no concern about
Inspiring students is what REALLY makes a difference but until we can quantify inspiration, it probably won't feature strongly on the political agenda.
Inspiring students is difficult to measure from a distance and hence not valued by our politicians.
I have to put my hand up and my head down.
Inspiring students took a back seat for me during the pressure days of NAPLAN. I have to admit that many of my goals were targeted towards academic results of a test. I put our successes as a school in the most simplistic terms.
Like a zealot, I grabbed hold of little successes on a graph rather than the true success of inspiring students to be better.
Quite frankly, parents don't care much about test results. Well that's not completely true. They do - but it is not the most important part of school for their children.
In my time as principal, parent complaints about curriculum and test results represented less than 1% of all the complaints that came across my desk. Complaints about whether their children were inspired enough to do well, came across my desk - often; very often.
Why is that?
My belief is that, in spite of what the media will have us believe, teachers are pretty good at teaching. The curriculum is pretty much covered.
Inspiring students sometimes takes a back seat; and that is regrettable.
I am no Martin Luther King. Nor can I do the JFK thing and inspire a crowd of thousands - but if you can, GO FOR IT I say.
But me, I have to revert to using other people's stuff.
There are heaps and heaps of inspirational resources around us that relief teachers can use as tools for inspiring students.
We can study the lives of inspirational people as a teaching tool.
The best way of inspiring students is to show them the inspiration of others
I am sure you have been inspired by music. I have used "The Power of the Dream' by Celine Dion as a presentation at many conferences where I have presented. The message of the song, the PowerPoint presentation of kids and schools and the words set such a positive tone that I am asked many times to use the presentation over and over again.
Just listen to the words of the song and think about your role as a teacher. How powerful is this message?
Turn your speakers up before you listen to this. You will be moved and inspired by the words.
Of course there are hundreds and hundreds of resources for inspiring students. But the difficulty for relief teachers is finding resources which are relevant to students.
I am not a Michael Jackson fan by any means. However I love the story behind his "Heal the World" music video. I am not certain whether kids in school relate to Michael Jackson but students still relate to kids in trouble. And that is the story of "Heal the World.
Heal the World music video was created using children who live in a range of different countries. All these countries are experiencing some form of unrest. The plight of children in Burundi features strongly throughout the clip.
Heal the World music video is one of the rare videos not to show Jackson himself. He chose not to appear in the video so he wouldn't distract from the message. Michael Jackson held an internet chat with his fans in 2001. During this chat, Micheal Jackson told the audience that the song of which he is proudest is "Heal the World."
He established a world-wide organisation called the Heal the World Foundation, a charitable organization whose role was to improve the lives of children around the world. The song, "Heal the World" has a clear message of keeping a place in your heart for love for other people. Michael wanted people to help others who were suffering. Another of the aims aim of the charity was to supply medication to youngsters. Michael felt strongly about battling starvation and homelessness of the children of the world.
Jackson said that he wanted, "to improve the conditions for children throughout the world." The song was promoted heavily through the Heal the World Foundation.
The foundation took on a humanitarian project to bring underprivileged children to Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Here they played in the theme park rides and forgot the worries of the world they left behind. Michael Jackson constructed the theme park on his property and used this to support many such activities.
Through this foundation, Michael Jackson shipped tons of food and supplies to children in Sarajevo. He established drug and alcohol abuse training and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to deprived children. Jackson funded a special liver transplant operation for a young Hungarian child who would have died without the treatment.
Michael Jackson made sure this message got out to the world. He wanted resources including money, medicine and food to be used the help others in need. Michael believed we should all play a role in helping others. A lot of children throughout the world require special care, including medical and dental care, clothing, education and better nutrition.
Children are always the innocent victims in wars, droughts, natural disasters. There are also, sadly, cases of children being abused and mistreated. These are events Michael highlighted in this special song. Michael Jackson made it his mission to help children throughout the world and his song, "Heal the World" brought attention to this plight.
1. Read the article above to the students. Inspire them with the empathy Michael Jackson wanted to share.
2. Turn the lesson into any form of discussion on any level you want.
3. Get out the tissues and watch the video.
4. Have students could write a review of the message presented.
5. Write an action plan on how they could, "Heal the World".