What Should We Talk About?

My favorite part of teaching was sharing evocative passages, affecting scenes, meaningful lyrics and innovative ideas with my students. We’d read, watch and listen to them, then think, talk and write about them.


It kept me from the curriculum. But then I’d think, Why isn’t this the curriculum? This is what kids need to learn! For example, after watching the scene where Tom Hanks scolds Geena Davis in A League of Their Own,


“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!”


I’d share it with students and explain why I showed it to them. And now I’m sharing passages, scenes, lyrics and ideas with you with the goal of getting a thought-provoking, life-enhancing conversations started.

How Maroon Five’s “Sugar” Video Teaches Students Why They Are In School

Maybe I’m losing it… No! I don’t believe that. This is such a good lesson. It’s a lesson kids need to learn, whether they know it or not. It’s a “Why are we in school?” lesson, and what could be more relevant to bored, apathetic students than that? I write this because when I taught it to the seniors in my economics class at my public-private, “high-achieving,” high-stress high school (possible explanation?) they reacted as if I just had told them to memorize Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. My haughtiest students will insist that the lesson is a waste of time because it’s so simplistic. Many of the rest, I speculate, dismissed it because 1. "What does this have to do with anything?