George Lucas Educational Foundation

Behind the Scenes of "If I Knew Then" (Teacher Appreciation Video)

If you could write a letter to yourself on your first day of teaching, what words of encouragement and insight would you offer? Go behind the scenes of Edutopia and SoulPancake's video collaboration for Teacher Appreciation Week and see how #TeachersMatter. Ready to write your own? Start here.
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Behind the Scenes of "If I Knew Then" (Teacher Appreciation Video)

Man: So the objective for us today is to actually make a video that celebrates all of you guys.

Man: So thank you so much for agreeing to be a part of it. If you haven't, you should, because it'll make you feel really good.

Woman: I used to think that maybe what I was doing didn't matter or wasn't working, and now that I've had a few more years under my belt, it feels good to be reminded of my conviction and to remember that what I'm doing matters.

Man: I can't imagine doing any other job, because this is so different every day. I was young when I started it, and I'm not now, but I feel younger than when I started, because being around kids all day and being infected by their enthusiasm about learning and their curiosity, it reminds me of how much fun it is to be a constant learner and keep learning. So I learned from them that-- how fun it is to be curious, not to get bored with stuff and to continue to make things engaging and exciting and kind of look at studying and learning and life that way.

Man: This is scene five, take one, mark.

Man: Dear first year self, the impact of your work is beyond what you can currently imagine.

Man: When the going gets tough, remember why you do the things that you do. Remember that every child has immeasurable value. Oh my gosh.

Woman: You're about to embark on a journey that is going to define you in the best of ways.

Woman: Enjoy your teaching, best Spanish teach ever, Erica Magana.



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  • Produced by: SoulPancake
  • Associate Producer, Edutopia: Douglas Keely
  • Senior Manager of Video, Edutopia: Amy Erin Borovoy

This video was produced in collaboration with SoulPancake. See more SoulPancake videos on their YouTube Channel.

Edutopia was proud to collaborate with SoulPancake to produce this behind-the-scenes video. Check out the full video below.

Write your own letter to yourself and see other letters from the Edutopia community here!

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Jennifer Priddy's picture

Dear First Year Me:
Hang in there. You came in with a vision of having total control of everything and your world turned upside down. Sure, a student made a water balloon in the classroom and stored it in his desk and you missed it. Sure, another student had a death stare that bore a hole in your back. And maybe there will be a kid whose mission in life is to inflict physical pain on you (he'll be removed from your class, don't worry). But your time at this school will open your eyes to a world much greater than the bubble you were raised in. This will be LIFE experience. You will survive your first three years and flourish because of it. You will make lifelong professional connections. You will discover your need to get better every day of every year. You will cry and take things personally, because that's what teachers do. You will stay connected to your students and watch them grow into beautiful young adults. You will continue to seek out growth opportunities, because you will learn mediocrity is unacceptable. You will grow into a passionate, enthusiastic educator. So stick with the jungle you're in. It's only up from here.

Your Future Self

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