A command we often say to elementary students (and college students) is, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” If we all followed this rule, it might be a magical place… or just really quiet? Being the optimists that we are, we are going with the magical place. Join us, won’t you?
Considering the magical world in which we do live, and the magical world of teaching, we have gleaned a few lessons the hard way – watching, listening to, and living fairytales of our own. Five lessons we have learned from Disney that can be applied to teaching and life are:
1. Have courage and be kind. Each day carries unique challenges. Some days it takes more of an effort to get out of bed like Anna in Frozen while other days we fly to our feet taking on challenges like Ella in Cinderella. Cinderella had to ignore the negative voices, take a chance and enter the ball solo with so many unknowns. Similar to this our teacher candidates need to have courage to enter that new classroom and set out to change the world – no small task. This does not have to be solo, however, if we break the isolation of teaching and collaborate with colleagues. We just need to follow Ella’s mother’s advice – “Have courage and be kind.” It is amazing how we could be the positive change we want to see if only we start.
2. Overcome the odds against you. A quirky Disney movie titled Bad Hair Day, depicts a typical teenage girl who thinks life is coming to an end because of a bad hair day. In the book, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Allison is a typical teenage girl who suffers from a hair loss condition called alopecia. When Allison was elected the president of her class, she began her acceptance speech with, “when most of you wake up in the morning and don’t like what you see, you may put on this t-shirt that says ‘bad hair day.’” Allison continued, “When I wake up in the morning, I put on this t-shirt that says ‘no hair day.’ This young lady learned to overcome the odds against her.
3. Take charge of your emotions. Teachers deal with sensitive students all day long. One minute that student may be sweet and innocent. Then, BAM…with the snap of the fingers that same student has a full blown temper tantrum. Inside Out is a cute Disney movie to be released in June that shows a mother, father, and daughter sitting at the dinner table, and inside their brains are little personified emotions trying to be in control. The daughter is trying her hardest not to have an outburst, but, the emotion escapes her. Now there are consequences to pay. If she would have just taken charge of her emotions. When teaching and dealing with unruly students’ behaviors, take charge of your emotions.
4. Make a friend for life. Do you have a best friend? Why is he/she your BFF? Would you choose a friend just by how he/she looks or what he/she wears or what kind of stuff he/she has? In the released DVD movie, Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast, Fawn the animal Fairy, befriends the very large, mysterious, kind of homely Neverbeast. Fawn stays true to her heart, trusts her instincts, and helps the others take note of the Neverbeast’s good side. Fawn doesn’t judge the book by its cover. Find that special someone, a colleague perhaps, and make a friend for life.
5. Embrace opportunities to explore uncharted territories. The movie trailer for Tomorrowland begins with the following quote: “What if there was a place…a secret place where nothing was impossible? Miraculous place where you could actually change the world? Ya wanna go?” Would you embrace this opportunity or would fear overcome you to cause you to run away from it fast? Let us share a secret with you about this secret place…it exists and it offers new opportunities every single day. Where is this magical place? It is the classroom. Each and every day presents new opportunities. Teachers…you can change the world—one student at a time. Look for this new movie in May.
Have courage and be kind so you can overcome the odds against you. Take charge of your emotions and find that special someone to be your friend for life. Together, embrace opportunities when they arise then go out and change the world, one day, one person at a time.
Do you have any fairytale lessons to share with us?