Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mission Minded

I love how a powerful story can transform even the most reluctant learner. I love when students look forward to coming to class, to talking about what they are learning. It's what teachers long for and only periodically experience. This school year I've had the pleasure of introducing a new group of students to some of my favorite literature and movies. And what I love most about it is not just sharing stories alone, but sharing the meaning and message of the stories. This week, for example, I've been watching/ studying The Mission with my sophomores. Set in 1750s South America, it's more than a historically accurate story. It's a profound story of forgiveness and redemption, beautifully filmed and acted. The sound track alone will move you if nothing else does.

The first time I saw this movie, I was with a small group of students on a retreat. It was the evening of a full day and we were looking forward to relaxing with a good movie. We were unprepared for the effect this movie would have on us. As the story unfolded, we become more an more attentive, more and more focused on the images, almost to the point of being oblivious to anyone else around us. When it ended, we sat there in stunned silence for a full eleven minutes (one of the boys timed it). No one wanted to speak. No one wanted to break the spell. In spite of the discomfort for some (boys), it changed us. As individuals and as a group. We will never be the same for having gone through that experience together.

I don't know if this new class will feel the same way tomorrow when we finish the movie. I hope it makes an impact. But the fact that it happened even once is enough.

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