Throughout our learning careers, we come across a number of teachers and different kinds of learning styles. Some are great, some are ok, and some are just totally ridiculous. But for many students, including myself, it is the teachers that not only do their job and go home, but the ones who go out of their way to get as much as they can out of their students, who have made a huge impact in their students lives. Not just as a teacher but as a friend and a role model.
By watching "Mr. Holland's Opus," I realized much more about teaching then I already thought I knew. This was the very first time I have seen this movie, not knowing what to expect from it but just a boring film where a teacher gets his students to do well in the classroom. I was way wrong. It made me want to teach even more.
Though Holland really didn't realize what he was doing when he started teaching, thinking it would give him more time to compose music, he eventually allowed his passion, and love of music to seep through the minds and hearts of his students. At the start of his teaching days, he would run home (just like some of my teachers have) soon as the last bell of the day started to ring. But as time went on, he had a great desire to learn more, and that gave him the will power to teach effectively. Pretty soon, Holland would give after school sessions, and started to get involved with the after school activities such as the marching band and drama plays. From watching the film, I think that the two major reasons that made Holland want to be a better teacher were the characters of Gertrude Lang and Lewis Russ. Lang was not a very good flute player, but she would never give up on it. She was very determined to learn how to play, even though Holland would tell her to give up. One day Holland saw Gertrude playing in the classroom. He went in there and told her to play something about something she liked about herself. She told him that she loved her hair because her father said it reminded him of the sunset. Holland told her to play "the sunset," which wasn't even a song. She never stopped playing after that.
The second reason for Holland's turning point in his career was the character of Lewis Rush. Lewis was a great wrestler who had a problem with his grades. The only way he would be able to wrestle in the upcoming season was if he passed his music class. Holland really didn't think he could get Lewis to pass the music class. He started to give up on him very early. He once was talking about his troubles to his wrestling coach on how he couldn't teach Lewis. The wrestling coach asked Holland why he couldn't teach Lewis. He was confused on how he couldn't teach a gifted kid who is willing. The wrestling coach told Holland that if you cant teach Lewis, then you're a lousy teacher. I believe that what the wrestling coach told Holland, he took to heart. Holland, I believe, who has a very big ego, was insulted by that remark, and motivated him to try harder. With a lot of dedication and hard work, Holland taught Lewis to play drums, and he was allowed to wrestle that season. Through the years, Lewis and Holland developed a very special relationship, but it was broken when Lewis died several years later.
Even though I cant relate to any of those stories in the movie, I can say that I have formed a very good relationship with one of my teachers from high school. I never really had him for any of my classes, but he was my lacrosse coach and one of the most respected, and most favorite teacher in the school. Tom Macandless was a type of guy who would go out of his way to make sure his students got the most out of themselves. Whether it would be passing a test no one would think they would pass, or getting in the starting line up for a lacrosse game. This man was not only a great role model to me, he has developed to be one of my friends. The reason why I think that he has the capabilities of being role models to students and athletes is that he is very similar in age to his students, about eight or nine years older than us. He understands about the difficulties students go through in high school and tries as best as he an to help them get through those times. He wasn't just a teacher who would give out assignments and sit on his butt and do nothing until we finished them, he would actually give himself the same assignment and do it too. He not only did that in the classroom, but on the lacrosse field. He would put his equipment on and play with us, coaching at the same time he was playing. The kids on the team not only thought he was just our coach, but also as one of our teammates. If I ever need something in school, he would be the first door I would knock on. He makes you feel that his door is always open to you. My friends and I, every morning before school, would always stop into his room and just talk about everyday stuff. He was not only just a teacher in the school to my friends and I, but he is considered one of our good friends.
Personally, I would like to be a Tom Macandless, or even a Glenn Holland. I want to know and realize that I can empower my students just the same way those two people do. Just seeing how much respect and gratitude these two men were given gives me the motivation to see how they feel everyday they step into their classrooms. I want my students to love my class just as much as I am going to love teaching, and coaching them. I want them to not only look at me as their teacher and coach, but to know that they always have a friend, and know that my door is always open to talk, not just about school problems, but about girls, lacrosse or just how their day went. I want to know that when I decide to leave the school that my students will remember me for the way I was: "Not just a normal teacher." Every one of my students deserves a teacher and coach who will have their back and look out for them. A teacher and coach who will sacrifice there personal lives sometimes to help out a student or player. A coach who will stay for hours after practice has ended to make sure a player understands the plays, or finally learns how to shoot the right way. Every teacher and coach is going to have a student or player that has difficulties with some material. I feel that it is my responsibility as a teacher and a coach that I must make sure he is getting the most out of my teaching and coaching. Even though he might not fully succeed in what he does, I want him to feel that I was the one who kept him going. I truly hope that I turn out to be a Tom Mcandless or a Glenn Holland. I want my students to leave their school there senior year and say that I was a major impact in their academics and their athletics.