Final video – explanation of choices

I am lucky to have spent the last five years working at a school with thousands of professional photographs already on the internet, including many of me teaching, so I used those as the background footage in my video.

I am also lucky to have ongoing close relationships with former students, whom I called upon for help in developing the oral part of the video. It was important to me to include student voices in my video because as a classroom teacher, I place tremendous emphasis on student-led discussion and say as little as possible. I thought it would be fun, and more true to my style, to let students describe how a few key aspects of my course–aspects that align with my philosophy towards teaching and writing–had impacted them. I gave each of them a topic and the general type of comment I was looking for. My text message to Maddie, for example, read, “Could you take a 30 second video of yourself saying why you liked journals in English and why you thought they were valuable?”

My favorite part of this project was hearing their responses–in each case, they said something that I hadn’t quite thought of or offered an additional reason to value that part of the course. Because I wanted to let them say something they felt was true, I waited to write my voice-over script until I had received each of the videos so that I could tailor what I said to fit their responses.

Because there was already so much talking (the three girls + me), I chose not to add any background music (except for the credits–I made that video several years ago and added the “Carmen” soundtrack for fun dramatic effect).

The audience that I have in mind is future colleagues. In this video, I hope to capture some of the philosophies and practices that make my teaching unique, and I think that having three students attest to the value of the class lends credibility to ideas that otherwise might be dismissed or questioned (for example: why devote time to giving speeches in an English class? Isn’t that the realm of a public speaking class?).

View the finished product here

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