Monday, August 12, 2013

What kind of teacher are you? aka Boom!

Here comes the...

I was watching a mediocre Kevin James movie a couple weeks ago, Here Comes the Boom, about a teacher who becomes an MMA fighter in order to raise money for his school’s music program.

He starts out as this kind of teacher... 

Hiding behind the paper, avoiding the one hand in the room that is raised. He is disengaged, tells his students that outside of the classroom this stuff won’t matter anyway (he’s a Biology teacher... if there was a subject that would matter in the outside world, you’d think this would be it!). Are you this kind of teacher? Just trying to get through the day to the weekend? Hoping that nobody comes into your room to check on you? Living in a silo where you get through your day 45 minutes at a time? How many teachers do you know like this? I hope not very many, if any.

There’s a line in the movie where he says, “But I was teacher of the year” and the principal replies, “that was 10 years ago”. He hadn’t done anything since, was skating by on a reputation from a time when he had been motivated.

But then there is this guy. Kevin James walks down the hall to the snack machine. He hears the band playing and walks into a dilapidated classroom where students are creating something beautiful, despite broken instruments and budget cuts. 

This teacher (Henry Winkler) is doing the best that he can with what he has, but is, at any given moment, on the verge of being ready to give up. He is going to push his students to be amazing for as long as he can, but even he has his breaking point. When the lack of funds, district support, and outside factors (parents and admin not thinking music is important enough) weigh too heavily on one person. This teacher is probably a more common one to see. The one that has been torn down, is running too hard, and would do anything for the students, but is trying to do it all on her own. I bet you know at least one of these teachers. 

Finally, there is this teacher: The NEW and IMPROVED version of Kevin James. This version of Kevin James’ character, through the circumstances of the movie, rededicates himself to his students. He finds his passion and motivation and isn’t going to let anyone keep him down. He’s working with and for the kids, but also with and for his colleagues. He’s creating a community in which the members care about each other. At first his students look at him like this:

Because he’s doing things like this:

and this:

But ultimately, when his community (district) works together, and not just the teachers, but the nurse, and the principal, and the KIDS are invested in the learning, in the education, in the environment, they end up with learning like this:


Where they’re not just getting by. Where one person isn’t hiding in his classroom while the guy down the hall struggles to take on the challenges of education by himself. Where they bring each other up for the sake of the community - the family - they’ve created. I mean hi, this teacher was willing to get his butt kicked in a UFC fight in Vegas so that he could raise the money to save his students’ music program. “Here Comes the Boom” is NOT a top 5 Kevin James movie by any means, but I took more away from it than probably any other movie I’ve seen this summer.

What kind of teacher will you be this fall? What kind of environment will you help create? 

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