Every day there are small, powerful stories unfolding, as many human tales as there are students. Each is different and equally important.
This reality was driven home last year for Lightspeed during the final development phase of in-school pilot programs for the 2014 launch of our product Flexcat. We toured the country to visit classrooms where the small-group audio solution was being used by teachers and students. It was then we saw and heard stories that we simply could not get out of our minds.
We were privileged to hear and see repeatedly stories of teachers and students — from the Louisiana bayou to a suburb of Minneapolis, from a growing community of Kansas to a remote-but-innovative school in rural Wyoming. We witnessed dozens of small, daily successes, where teachers and students, backed by caring principals and other astute administrators — rose daily to the challenges of education in modern-day America.
These are the stories that don’t grab headlines. But they change lives.
Because we had done brief interviews with educators about their experiences while we are on the road, we had a permanent record of the daily successes we saw and heard, and deeper insight into the creative methods used and insights gleaned by educators.
It occurred to us that someone should tell these stories to the world in a way that celebrated those little daily dramas of learning challenges and small, personal victories. And this brought to mind a phenomenon that many of us at Lightspeed remembered from our childhoods: the After School Special.
After School Specials were also dramas that centered around school children, their teachers, but often included parent and family stories of a highly dramatic nature. The Specials ran for 25 years, from the early 1970s until the late 1990s, and starred many young actors who would go on to become big names in Hollywood.
After School Specials featured tough subjects facing kids: parent’s divorcing, poverty, bullying, mentally challenged students, pregnancy, over protective parents. And they even dealt with two stories that we saw in real life: behaviorally difficult students, and shy ones.
The two dramas that we decided to create, based on real teacher-and-student stories we experienced in the field I would like to present to you now.
“Shy No More” takes place in an elementary school. Again, based on true stories, our teacher is faced with helping a child who is painfully shy and helps that student gain confidence. The insights the teacher gains from “listening in” enlighten him to our student’s leadership skills and knowledge that only come through in the comfort of her small peer group. With this new perspective on the student the teacher is able to help our student gain confidence.
“Being There For Them” is a is a real-life high school dramatization. In it, a teacher struggles with her need to manage the class and her desire for her kids to take responsibility for their own learning through debate, collaboration and ultimately sharing their results with the entire class.
We at Lightspeed are very proud of the daily successes that educators and students achieve every day in classrooms, without ever getting wide public recognition for their important work.
I hope you enjoy these stories and feel as we do that this work going on in the schools deserves to be remembered and celebrated for what it is: evidence of today’s daily success stories that will bring success for our children in the future.
David’s been on the forefront of audio development for 12 years. His passion is uncovering the unspoken, often unrecognized challenges teachers and students struggle with daily and finding ways to apply audio technology to take down barriers to learning.
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