Saturday, May 25, 2013
O Captain! My Captain!
In 1865 Walt Whitman penned the words to his very famous poem about President Abraham Lincoln.
O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done.
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won....
The poem has always been one of my favorites, and in fact, when I discovered that it was used by Robin Williams' English teacher character in Dead Poets Society, my love for it grew even more.
I have used the film (and book version) of Dead Poets Society with almost all of my classes during their first year of English with me at Herning Gymnasium. It is a great story to use to introduce the topic of VOICE and to work with students on what is, for many, their first attempt at poetry analysis.
However what happened to me on Wednesday, May 8 during my last class in Denmark gave that film a whole new personal meaning for me. I had just finished my "What's all the Fuss about Texas" presentation for 2y (my Seattle class). This was my way of telling them a bit about this crazy Cowboy state that I call home, so that they would know something about where it was that I was going as I was leaving them.
After I finished, one of the girls said, "And now we have something for you." The entire class of 28 immediately began to stir and I honestly thought they were all leaving the room for some reason.... and then I was presented with this image.... as they all stood up, climbed upon their desks, and said, "O Captain! My Captain!"
I have been in education for 20 years and I have received some amazing gifts and notes and tributes during those 20 years, but as I stood there on May 8, 2013 in room 31.15 in Herning Gymnasium in Herning, Denmark, I felt something like I have never felt before. Yes, I know that I have impacted students across the years and I know that I have left a bit of myself with each student and each class that I have had....but on this day, at this moment, I was reminded that in about 16 hours from this exact moment I would be leaving this place as I returned to Texas, and I found myself HUMBLED.
I am not sure if these students realize the impact of their actions on me.... but even now, as I type this 2 weeks later, I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face....
I am humbled and I am so appreciative of the 4.5 years that I was able to work with students in Herning and Ikast, Denmark. They impacted me so much and I will never forget a single one of them. And every time I think of education in Denmark, this image of 2y will flash across my mind.
I HAVE BEEN BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE.