I love this quote from the movie Breathe, based on a true story. The main character Robin Cavendish played by Andrew Garfield gets polio while in Africa, and he is confined to a hospital bed and given only a few months to live. The movie portrays an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. It is truly a heartwarming celebration of human possibility.
What you are stuck with after watching this movie is how some people have the capacicty to move our society forward. Not taking no for an answer, but going out there doing it anyway.
Doctor: No one with your husband’s disability exists outside a hospital anywhere in the world.
Diana Cavendish: Has anyone ever tried?
And just as they did with the disabled, we do with our students. We need to remind ourselves that teachers have more ability to do incredible things than they give themselves credit for. You need people who ask the questions like; has anyone ever tried? And if not, why not?
This clearly dominates the conversations we have in school today. We might know what is best for students and their learning, but we are stuck in old traditions and truths based on “this is how we have always done it”. The recipe is to be bold and to try out new ideas. To risk taking chances and to realize you will experience failure, like when they in the movie were stranded in Spain with a broken ventilator. But as long as you take chances and surround yourself with people who care, you should be ok! At least you are living! And when your findings can help others, that is when it gets rewarding.
Robin Cavendish: Why do you keep your disabled people in prison?
Doctor: No one has ever believed it’s possible to live as you do.
Robin Cavendish: Well, we should open the gates and set them free.
Indeed little would happen if we didn’t have people who took risks and asked questions like; why not, has anyone ever tried, and what is the worst thing that could happen if we try? Like motivating kids in school, by changing the way we work and the topics we work on. Luckily many teachers are changing the instructions using new technology to introduce new ideas. And students are producing videoes and participating in meaningful conversations with students in many other parts of the world. Still, we need new groundbreaking changes and ways to share these ideas to get even better at this!