A few hours remain until the end of YouTube’s “On the Rise” contest, and I am able to reflect on what has been gained from the experience of being a nominee in this rollercoaster-like mainstream contest. Ever one to look for the positive, I think I am most impressed by people’s commitment to education. So many votes were not for me as an individual, but for what I represent. Those who know the kind of work I do voted because they believe in the power of learning.
Learning changes us for the better. We become better communicators, better community members, better workers, and better people. If someone fails to understand how a not-so-glamorous teacher of not-so-exciting topics (well, exciting to us ELTs, of course), such as prepositions and the IPA, could earn so many votes in a social media contest, then the person sadly lacks good memories of his or her school experience. Personally, I can remember most of my grade school and high school teachers. I remember them, and I thank them for helping me grow as a person. I remember the professors who also touched my life in college and graduate school. They cared for me beyond the classroom walls.
A language lesson (especially one filmed by an amateur video maker!) does not have the wow-factor that mainstream audiences can readily see, but there is a hidden wow-factor that the learner experiences over time.
To all of you teachers reading this, I look at you and your work and say, “WOW!”