Monday, November 5, 2012

What's Your "Jurassic Park" Moment? #JPMoment

The other day I decided to put together a play list of some of my favorite movie themes. It turns out it was a "Best of John Williams" play list. While putting it together, I found the Jurassic Park theme song. That song took me back to 8th grade.

In 8th grade, my Dad gave me a book and told me I had to read it. At this point, I had no idea this was going to be a movie or what I was getting into when I picked up the book. It turned out to be one of the coolest stories I had ever read. (Note: I wasn't much of a reader in my younger years, so that doesn't carry the weight that it should for an English teacher.) As the summer approached, my Dad told me that had made the book into a movie. I was beside myself with excitement. My childhood dream of seeing dinosaurs was about to come true. (The only versions I had seen at this point were very cheesy claymation and cartoons (Remember the Dinosaucers?), so this was a big moment.)

My parents allowed me to spend the night at a friends house (first and only time that happened) so that we could go to the midnight showing to see the film. There is a moment in the film that will forever stay with me and I still get chills whenever I see it. When Dr. Grant sees the Brachiosaurus for the first time always blows me away. As a kid, it was a moment where I thought anything was possible. I was seeing dinosaurs. They were there and they were real. That moment was just inspiring to me the more I look at it.

I'm 33 now and have a wonderful son I hope to inspire and fill with the same sense of wonder when I show him Jurassic Park. I look at my lesson plans and think about my approach and how I seem to strive for a "Jurassic Park" moment when creating them. I want my students to have a moment in my classroom. A moment they can walk away with and remember down the road. I'm not saying every lesson has a moment for everyone, but I hope some will have that moment.

A Jurassic Park Moment - A moment when a person is filled with wonder and believes that the impossible is now possible. 

I feel a responsibility as a teacher to try and reach out to students to help them think that anything is possible and the world is still filled with wonder. Is that naive? Am I too idealistic? I hope so. If I'm not, it's probably time to get out of the Nerdy Teacher business.

Do you want to share your "Jurassic Park Moment"? Leave it in the comments.