Sickeningly inspiring videos make me go bleech…

… for example, I hated the young kid talking to a convention of teachers that was making the rounds (here). It’s supposed to be elevating, motivating, sweet. Instead, I just got supremely annoyed.

But… I saw an inspirational video that actually… well, inspired.

There’s something captivating about the metaphor. I liked it because it got me thinking about teaching.

  • Students — when they are pushed just beyond what they think is capable — can surprise themselves and others.
  • Teachers — when they trust students enough to push them beyond what they think is capable — can bring out some really amazing results.
  • Teachers need to remember that each kid is different, and you can’t expect every student to do the same level work. But you can and must expect them to work up to their potential. (“Do your best.”)
  • Students can’t succeed if they have a defeatist attitude.
  • Teachers can’t succeed if they have a defeatist attitude.
  • Positive encouragement goes a long, long way.
  • Students can inspire other students.
  • Students can inspire teachers.
  • Teachers can inspire students.

I’ve mentioned to parents that my teaching philosophy is to try to teach students just beyond the level they think they’re capable of. (I don’t always succeed.) But I’m thinking that after a particular difficult assessment, when I’m really blown away at how my students did, I might share this philosophy with them. And show them this video. And tell them that I’m really proud of them.

Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to have that moment sometime this quarter with each of my classes. I don’t know if each one of my classes will pull it out, but I really am pulling for all of them all the time. Some students might not always see it, but I’m always on their side.

PS. I know this is from a “Christian movie.” No, I haven’t seen it. No, I don’t intend to.



  1. @Matt Oh my god! I was simply horrified. If we were supposed to take it personally, and I believe we were, as I teacher I was totally insulted.

  2. The Dallas video was impressive in that he had fortitude to memorize and present a lengthy speech. I found parts, if sincere, to be good. Now, the video above, from Facing the Giants, is incredible. The point being to push ourselves beyond and not just the physical, but the mental, emotional and spiritual. The movie is good, but this is the most inspirational part. Thanks for reminding me that’s what we try to do for all our students.

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