I was listening to the Iyah music show and was listening to all the positive energy and great music when I decided the students in my class might like to learn more about Reggae music.
I decided to start them with a study of Bob Marley since I have a really cool 2012 documentary by Kevin MacDonald titled “Marley”. The movie does a really great job covering the life of Bob including his struggles, achievements, troubles, inspiration, and also the history of the era with political situations and wars. I thought it would be a chance to study history and give the students a chance to reflect on our current situation. I wanted to inspire my students.
I always begin a lesson by asking students to share what they already know about the subject. I wasn’t surprised to find that the students had a limited knowledge of this subject. The students are 8th graders and haven’t studied the roots of reggae music or the life of Bob Marley. They had limited exposure and knowledge of the subject but they were willing to give it a shot.
As we viewed the film I would try to point out the important information that was being viewed. I also had information in print that the students and I read together. My students are used to this since this is how we explore every subject. I’m trying to encourage intellectual curiosity in my students so I try to teach them how to research a subject.
I wanted to get the students to express their learning and understanding about Bob Marley in a way that they could include their own vision of the world they are living in.
The poems start with the refrain “Last Night I Dreamt that Bob Marley was President” because I wanted the students to think about the kind of leaders they think should be in charge. What are the qualities that they feel are needed from the future leaders in the world? How will people treat each other as our civilization continues and (hopefully) evolves?
I guess you could say there is a need for inspiration right now. I wanted the poems to be a chance for the students to speak out and learn to express their thoughts. I hoped to empower them by showing that there are people in the world interested in what they have to say if they take the chance and speak up and unite.
These are challenging times for teachers. Between budget cuts and distractive testing mania, teachers are working with children who are struggling to find their expression and where they fit in. In addition to the normal developmental situations there are many students who are living in unstable environments. They sometimes take their resentments out on the teacher and can be very disrespectful.
I wanted to inspire them to believe that they can achieve anything they work for. I was hoping they’d reflect on the things they are thankful for. Bob Marley inspires people and I wanted them to have a chance for this inspiration.
This was a powerful learning experience for me because I felt like I could have done a better job. Eeyo dedicated a big portion of his show for us and I know it couldn’t have been easy. The biggest lesson I took from this experience was that I recognized that things don’t go perfectly or smoothly but it is important to start somewhere.
The IYAH music show is a true inspiration and I am thankful for our friend Jerry Thompson. You are truly one-of-a-kind and we are blessed to know you.