You are special…and we’re counting on you

So says John Green. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look.

This is John Green’s, ‘An Open Letter to Students Returning to School’, one of his Vlogbrothers entries posted on YouTube. It was my opener for my Year 10 English students today, and it sparked plenty of healthy discussion about what we should be teaching in our classrooms, and what are the skills young people are going to need to be successful in their future lives. After this vibrant, healthy discussion, we had to pick up Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, something John Green would probably consider a waste of time, since Baz Lurhmann has done a pretty good filmic interpretation of it!

What I especially loved about this video was his parting message, that schooling is about me – you need to watch it through to see John’s intent. My kids liked it to. I think it made them reflect, for a moment, about school’s higher purpose, about why they are sitting in rooms learning about Physics, Biology and English.

At the end of the video, John suggests viewers go and visit Crash Course, the YouTube channel he and his brother Hank are developing to support the teaching of Biology and World History. Take a look at John’s treatment of World History (the videos are on a playlist and scroll through) – I think they might keep some of our students a tad more interested than some of the educational videos I’ve seen in the past!