While I was away, a lot of the things I usually worry about were no longer under my control. I had to pass off responsibilities and trust that everything would be okay*. One of these things was a middle school assembly. As student council advisor, I am in charge of making sure our monthly assemblies run without a hitch. The students coordinate with teachers and students who want to present and organize a slideshow that shows the running order of the assembly. And while the students are in charge of making sure that everything is done, I am always hovering, making sure that everything is perfect on the day. This hovering was impossible from Cambodia. So I turned it over to middle school student body president and hoped it all worked out.
I came back from Cambodia and this is the slideshow they created.
I nearly cried with joy. The slides (with a few exceptions) were exactly what I would expect if I was there to
nag advise. Not every slide is Presentation Zen, but it’s as “zen” as a middle schooler is going to get. There was not a flame or an insane transition between slides in sight. There was not a single bullet point. The images are Creative Commons images. The images are cited! Just thinking about it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. And they did it all without me. It took months of modeling and nagging reminding and talking about why neon green and orange isn’t the best combination, but they were able to do it on their own.
Perhaps this is just a post to tell other teachers “stick with it”. Keep expecting students to use Creative Commons images. Have a common expectations at school. The section on Oxfam in the slideshow was created by Alex’s tutor group and it also looks great. Alex co-teaches middle school humanities with me and I know that every kid in middle school knows what is required of a presentation. This helps a lot. They will get it. Just have faith. And persistence. You will be rewarded with a presentation that is worth watching.