Project Grad Gets Its Groove On

The DEN team is in Knoxville today at the ProjectGrad Teacher Retreat.  Teams of teachers from all the ProjectGrad schools in Knox County were invited to attend this all-day event to recognize and re-energize their “teacher batteries.”The morning started off with a great, full breakfast and coffee.  Then, each team presented their “team cheer” for the rest of the attendees.  It was great fun (and gave me an idea to offer to DEN retreats as well as our own academic and related arts teams at my school!).AkilMarshallThe opening speaker was Akil Marshall.  (Mr. Marshall is pictured with Karla Halcomb, our Events Coordinator).  The Akil Marshall Organization was established to communicate, motivate, and uplift those students who are labeled as disruptive, at risk, or unreachable.  Given his style and message, I would say that his organization does an outstanding job!His message centered on the belief that all children have “genius” inside them.  The influences from outside the classroom constantly bombard them with messages of failure and nothingness.  It is the job, the  mission, of educators to be heard above those messages as we tell children of their inner genius and show them how to let it out.During the keynote, I ustreamed the event and wound up in the chat room with someone I suspect was from Scandinavia.   The audio was horrible (a mistake I corrected in the last 5 minutes), so I wound up chatting Mr. Marshall’s main points and some of the PowerPoint slides he was using.  It was a great time of interaction as we talked about Mr. Marshall’s message and some of his metaphors:

Specifically, we talked about the metaphor of the massage therapist.  Our students are suffering from internal pain, but they have the power of healing inside themselves.  When our physical bodies are in pain through over exertion, a massage therapist can manipulate the muscles and tendons inside our bodies to bring relief.  The power to heal is in the muscles themselves, but the therapist knows how to manipulate them to heal.Likewise, students bring pain to the classroom (from home, peers, etc).  The teacher’s job is to manipulate the genius inside the student so the student can heal himself or herself.

Lars and I both thought that was a powerful metaphor, but also realized it would take a great deal of work to be that educator.What do you think?


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