Day 153, Thursday, May 28, 2009
During class this morning, I was astounded when one of the 9th graders happened to mention that she had spent 45 minutes last night watching the videos of her classmates when they were the ‘scholar of the day’. It took me by surprise because I would never have thought a student would be that interested in these 5-minute videos that I make of each scholar at the end of the year. The student simply reads a favorite essay, answers one question from me, listens to a few compliments from classmates, and then I put the video up on our blog. That’s all. I thought of it as a comparatively insignificant and somewhat superfluous supplement to English class, not as something a girl might get wrapped up in for 45 minutes. I pictured this girl at home, staring at the computer screen and being enthralled by what she was watching – her classmates reading sophisticated scholarly essays for three or four minutes. There wasn’t anything elaborate or showy in the videos – just teenagers facing the camera and reading academic papers that might (to be honest) put some viewers to sleep. Not this girl, though. For 45 minutes she was apparently spellbound as she watched her friends performing like serious essay writers – which they are. This, perhaps, was the best kind of reality TV for her – watching real kids being real scholars.