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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Why Teachers Matter

George Lucas

Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation

When I was growing up, I didn't enjoy school very much. I liked English class, and shop. (Those were the days when we had shop . . .) But when it came to math and science, I didn't do that well. The truth is, I barely made it through high school.

Today, our educational system looks much different than it did when I was a student. Especially in recent years, we’ve been undergoing a major transition in education.

Kids today grow up immersed in a world of digital technology. Information is now freely available to everyone. It's powerful. Digital technology can get information, store information, do calculations and connect people in new ways.

Digital technology can do so many amazing things for the learning process, but it can't be human.

The Human Touch in Education

When you really think back about your best teachers, they were the ones who connected with you. They might have been classroom teachers, after-school coaches, parents, or principals. They patted you on the back, knew your name, and made jokes with you. They were human beings offering encouragement and building confidence, saying things like, "I know you can do this. Come on."

And this is one way in which the world hasn't changed: teaching is still the most important job.

To me, there is nothing more exciting, fulfilling, and wonderful than watching a kid finally grasp a concept, then take the information and use it in the real world.

Teachers make this happen. Teachers motivate. Teachers synthesize information to help students understand. Teachers listen, coach, and mentor. Teachers matter.

On behalf of the rest of the staff at The George Lucas Educational Foundation, thank you, teachers!

George Lucas

Filmmaker and Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Comments (7)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Eva Cornwell's picture

How blessed I've been to have had this career. I can't imagine a more satisfying way to spend 34 years.

Karen Boyes's picture

Mr Lucas - I so agree - thanks for your wonderful message. I live in New Zealand and have been working to raise the profile of teachers both professionally and personally since 1994. I have an 80 page glossy coffee table magazine called Teachers Matter that is now on it's 25th issue. Thanks for being someone of influence that also cares about teachers because teachers really do matter - they make every other profession possible :-)
with lots of rainbows and sunshine from downunder - thanks :-)
Karen Boyes

melinda green's picture
melinda green
sixth grade generalist teacher from Freeport, Bahamas

Great Job Mr. Lucas!!!
I feel inspired. Keep up the great work!!

Teresa Almeida d'Eca's picture
Teresa Almeida d'Eca
EFL teacher, Teacher trainer

I heard George Lucas say the words below at the 64th Oscar Awards Cerimony on 30Mar1992. It's been with me in my handbag every day since then. As a teacher, they touched me deeply.
"I'd especially like to thank a group of devoted individuals who, apart from my parents, have done the most to shape my life - my teachers. From kindergarden through college, their struggle, and it was a struggle, to help me learn to grow, and "learn" was not in vain; and it is greatly appreciated. I've always tried to be aware of what I say in films, because all of us who make motion pictures, are teachers, teachers with very loud voices, who will never match the power of a teacher who is able to whisper in a student's ear."
Thank you, George Lucas, for this beautiful tribute to all teachers! :-)
Teresa (retired EFL teacher; Lisbon, Portugal)

daryl's picture
daryl
a sober mind reflecting upon a long lost youth

Thank you Mr. Lucas,

Like you, I had a wandering mind and poor study habits. Thankfully, your work as an artist introduced me to most of the significant literary themes western civilzation has to offer. Each viewing of your films inspired me to explore various concepts, ideas and creative works. You certainly answered the call, communed with the divine and survived the journey home with the elixir intact. I'm sorry the bonehead critics missed the boat on the prequels as episodes II & III are some of the finest films ever crafted. Irony appears to be an inescapable aspect of reality. The true pioneers of the future, brave souls not yet born who will journey into space to know and be known will owe a pinch of their adventures to YOU. The hero who projected our myths into sky that we are destined to explore.

And you have been my hero for as long as I can remember. I hope you see my simple yet genuine "thank you."

"The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. 'Live,' Nietzsche says, 'as though the day were here.' It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal--carries the cross of the redeemer--not in the bright moments of his tribe's great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair."
The concluding paragraph of Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With A Thousand Faces"

O L, M G, is there no help for the widow's son?

-the rhodar wizards

daryl's picture
daryl
a sober mind reflecting upon a long lost youth

The most remarkable teacher of all is the one who willingly (at least on a subconscious level) adorns himself with the cloak of the villain. When the grand playwright, the weaver of dreams endeavors to tell the story of his life to the many children of the world he calls upon his most reliable of performers. He calls for the fool, the bright eyed youth, the plucky princess and ofcourse he calls for the wise old wizard. He entreats the audience with a familiar tale, two brothers entering a fortress in search of fame, fortune and destiny. The audience is captivated by their folly.

And yet there is one role yet to be understood and it is the one which requires his most skillful actor, even more skillful than the wizard. The widow's son Hiram Abiff, the god Osiris, the Holy Shiva. To find him the playwright travels out beyond the many tents of the village, beyond its outskirts until at last the he reaches the tent of the Shaman. The playwright, the achitect and the weaver has a lone tear in his eye when he hands over the script. You see the bright eyed youth and plucky princess play such wonderful heroes. Even the Old Wizard insists on portraying a protagonist and as the elder performer he invokes such rights. There must be a villain, a fearsome foe for them to fight. An authority to whom they may rebel against. The amazing actor smiles, dutifilly taking the role. Recognizing such a remarkable story that can exist only with his participation, and only conclude with his dismemberment and disembowelment.

But you see, this was no ordinary play. And no ordinary playwright. This master weaver, the apprentice of Homer carried within his soul the lost methods of his departed master. Ironically, his critics dismissed his writing as juvenile but in truth, the deficiency in awareness lied within themselves. You see, he was not writing a book, or painting a mural, although in a sense he was. He was composing a visual symphony, a grand confluence of the various artistic mediums, all arranged in perfect harmony. Like the works of his master he had composed the grand story of his life in a lyrical manner, multi-layered with resonating themes, rhyming stanzas and an ultimate crescendo towards truth.

And what was that truth? Well you see, the playwright knew his dear old friend would dutifully take the role of the villain, just as he always had. But the playwright knew that this would be the final work of his life and in this, his final act he decided to repay his dear friend, his brother, his shadow, his reflection. He would show the world once and for all what a hero he was, the grandest of them all.

The lover's kiss, the fools frustrate and amuse, the limbs are severed apart and sewn anew. The curtain closes as the audience cheers. The children loved it all, the entire thing, from start to finish. And while their parents failed to grasp the simple lessons of the parable it had not been lost on the bright eyed youth. It was a little secret and he knew better than to tell. The suspension of disbelief achieved by the story teller was far too precious to break. The children of the world rose up and demanded more stories but the playwright had nothing tangible left. He had told them the story of his life and left little out, in truth there was nothing left to say. So he did the only thing he could, he handed off his sketches and his pen then pledged the remainder of his life to the deep compassion that defined his kindly spirit.

"What if dreams came true, and you could be who you wanted to be, and you could do what you wanted to do, and you could help who you wanted to help.
What if dreams came true?
And the world opened up, and you were never ever afraid.
What if dreams came true?
But dreams do come true. Don't they?"

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