There are some children who dream of being the president, famous, or rich, I have met a child who wanted to be invisible. His name was Carl and he was very good at fading into the background. At home he had an older brother who got into lots of trouble and a younger sister who was “the perfect student.” Carl was in the middle and he liked it that way, he could morph into a silent witness or just be part of the crowd. He was an expert at not being noticed and seemed startled when attention came his way. His career goals included being a Jedi Knight when he grew up. At school Carl had succeeded in reaching 5th grade by perfecting his art of invisibility in the classroom as well. He would be silent, not cause trouble, and often luck up that the teachers wouldn’t realize he spent most of his day, without doing much at all. That was until he met, dear old Mrs. White!
You see I believe that all people have stories to tell and I was determined that my students would get an opportunity to tell at least one of theirs. Each year my students create a digital story. It is a 3 minute movie they create about an event in their own life. Well I’ll tell you Carl was having none of that. He was very good at ducking and dodging. How could he possibly remain invisible if he told his story? That was my thought exactly! I spent a lot of blood sweat and tears in giving Carl extensive one on one support in order for him to write his story. It was near torture to get a clear being, middle, and end. But by George, we did it!
Each year we have a grand world wide premiere of our movies. We roll out the red carpet and send sneek preview invitations to family as well as various other vips. Well the day came, the Oscar’s nomination committees were in attendance, however Carls’ parents were not. As the students sat and watched each movie, they clapped and cheered. You could actually see parent’s heads swell with pride. Carl would clap with head bowed and completely no affect on his face. Carl’s turn came, his movie played, and at that very moment a miracle occurred. Carl sat up straight, eyes wide, with the biggest and brightest smile I have ever seen. For that moment as the entire audience, cheered for him Carl was completely visible!
I made a vow from that day forth that no child would be invisible in my classroom again! Times are changing, chalkboards, worksheets, and strictly pencil/ paper activities don’t cut it in preparing our students for the world in which they live. We as educators, parents, voters, and lawmakers have to make sure we don’t hold our children back from the future in which they will create, edit, problem solve, and explore. I know that Carl’s life will never be the same because of that moment when the world around him stood up and cheered. And for that fact neither will mine.