Innocently a young colleague, not much older than my eldest son, asked me if I had seen ‘Force Awakens,’ and if I liked it.
Never believe that asking a simple question to an English-teacher-quasi-nerd-fan-girl-turned-Jedi-master-saw-original-Star-Wars-changed-life is going to produce a simple answer.
I hesitated, and he said, “Oh no.” He knew.
So…hesitated, and responded: “I learned that ‘Star Wars’ is our cultural entry, our collective consciousness doorway, to providing accessible analysis of narrative.” Or something to that effect.
Basically: it’s our doorway to being able to discuss literature/narrative, in an informed, impassioned and to us, when we’re discussing plot, character, story arc, decisions, we own it, we create and recreate, and we feel smart. And when we feel smart, we feel confident. And when we feel confident, success is inherent. And nothing succeeds like success.
Think about it: when my husband and I left the Cinerama (our boys having seen the film: older one not in love with Star Wars, in fact hates it, younger one loved it and shared the Belated Media clips below–more on that later) we both knowingly rolled our eyes at each other, and waited until we were out of earshot of other fans to dissect Kylo Ren’s character, plot points, comparisons, and develop our own fan theories. My husband leans toward Star Trek, I sit on the Star Wars side, but somehow we manage to still love each other. This huge epiphany slammed my noggin like a tri-chappe lightsaber: Star Wars doesn’t have to be good, high art, elitist cinema or literature: its value is in our ability to want to own it, and its simple story is its beauty of accessibility.
This is why–oh so very, very why–it’s important to understand how to open that door for our students.
And do not — DO NOT — get your “teacher” all over it.
If you use Minecraft, don’t add a learning target.
If you use Dr. Who, Harry Potter, or Star Wars, don’t put a standard anywhere near it.
If you talk about Journey of the Hero, unreliable narrators, game lore, Dungeons and Dragons, or the poetry of the songs from your youth, be the Obi-Wan to their padawan, and allow them to be the Jedi Master when teaching you about what’s important to them. If you’ve ever spoken to a Whovian, you will be thoroughly schooled in all things Dr. Who.
Allow yourself to be the dork once in awhile. Show them the passion and excitement you have when you talk about a movie you love, or characters you feel like you know personally. I have no shame in telling students I cried when I found out Alan Rickman passed away. If you can watch the scene between Dumbledore and Snape when Snape reveals his motivation (no spoilers…just in case)…then you may need to check for your humanity. Back to Star Wars: a young female colleague told me she thought Rey was better than Leia. Oh, smart lady, please don’t make me bring up context and constraints of time periods.
We fans of fiction, games, lore, and the accessible story unite in pure love of the conversation.
All I can say about that.
Anyway, my colleague showed this to me — so fun to watch fan theories:
JarJar? Master Wizard?
And my younger son shared this series with me and my husband, and we loved them: (there may be some language: apologies).