Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mr. Holland's Passion and Ethics in Teaching Worth Emulating

I made my rainy weekend enjoyable as much as I could (apart from reading, playing with my lil angel and just zzzzzleeping a.k.a beauty-resting:). Staying at home with my family is never boring but this week, seeing an inspiring movie spiced everything up. It made me prepare for another tough week of dealing with academic work especially with challenging (and not challenged, i.e. Failed!) students at the end of the semester. Mr. Holland's Opus, an interesting film I've been searching for ages came right at the perfect time.

Why did I search for this film? The first and only time I saw it was when I got a whole month of Summer Teacher Seminar in Cebu back in 1998. I longed to get a copy of Mr. Holland's Opus since then to share to my education students and fellow educators what a great and inspiring teacher Mr. Holland is but I never found one. Thanks to SIL Edna who found it lately on sale and agreed to give it to me with my vow to share it to others.

Mr. Glenn Holland, who makes teaching music as passion has epitomized what a teacher should be. He is never contented with just teaching in the four-cornered room but goes out his way to extend his time helping out his students - beyond working hours. Strategy-wise, he exemplifies how teachers can simplify complex things into comprehensible way. For example, instead of just differentiating between classical music and rock-and-roll by reading from the definitions in the book, he paces to the piano and plays Minuet in G by Bach and a popular Rock n' Roll music at the time. There he goes, he is able to arouse the interest of all his students who have been so passive about his lessons for some time.

Last week, I had to deal with a group of students who failed in their ESL class for not liking their farang (foreigner, usually Caucasian) teacher's style. Like Mr. Holland, I had to deal with the disciplining and counseling part of the teacher's crucial roles before I finally turned them over to the teacher I asked to handle them. I had to orient them that in real life, they have to deal with different personalities in order to succeed. Different teachers have their own styles and Family Psychologist John Rosemond admonishes parents not to tolerate children to choose teachers for themselves. He suggested that they must be taught to respect every teacher so that they won't feel that they always have the right to express unliking to their teacher or to request for another one. It is part of the EQ to be developed although I must say that there are teachers who need to improve their teaching styles and strategies just like Mr. Holland who tries every possible way to get through the interests and real needs of his students.

There is much to appreciate in the life of Mr. Holland aside from teaching strategies and willingness to go extra miles to be a noble teacher. This enthusiastic teacher who always encourages his students particularly those in his orchestra who used to play in dissonance to love what they are doing, thus they improved a lot later, is also a model of moral values. He is training a pretty girl with a golden voice to interpret a song he composed for a big school performance. The young girl falls in love with him and showed her affection to her but he never takes advantage of it. Despite having tension with his wife over their frustration with their son whom they discovered later as deaf and dumb, he remains faithful to his wife by not succumbing to the wish of the young girl to run away with her for a bright singing career in New York. He should have been attracted to the offer for a more financially rewarding  career as a talent manager as he's struggling financially at the time but he chooses to stay not only with his family but also with his school even if he meets oppositions by his assistant principal who later turns as the school principal. Hmm, we've seen many teachers not able to resist  such a sweet temptation with their vulnerable students. 

Professionalism is also greatly exemplified by Mr. Holland. He remains calm under pressures and adversities. He was forced to retire at the age of 60 after 30 years of happily teaching using the front of cost-cutting. The principal finally succeeded to devastate him but the school alumni whose lives have been inspired and touched by Mr. Holland gather and prepare a Tribute Party for him including the present state governor who was most challenged by him while she was still a member of his orchestra. These school alumni take up their instruments and ask the retiring teacher to serve as their conductor in the premiere performance of Mr. Holland's Opus ("The American Symphony"). At this momentous night, Mr. Glenn Holland rebonds with his students from various batches while his wife, Iris, and now successful son, Cole, look on with such great admiration. They and everyone present have seen how this old teacher has influenced his students' appreciation of music and of life.

No wonder why this movie grabbed multiple awards! This should be regarded a classic film and must be made available in every College of Education as teachers are builders of the nations.


scribbler said...

Nice blog. You described it very well. I felt like watching the movie, myself.
It looks similar to an old movie, "To Sir with Love."

Teachers do play a great role in our society. I hope they, the teachers, realize that themselves and look at their job with dignity.

nice A said...

@scribbler, I do hope, too.
I'll look for "To Sir with Love", as well.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

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