Out of all the movies he's starred in and all the charities he's donated to and all the organizations he helps, Matt Damon is probably best known for his performance in Team America.
But this past Saturday he was down in Washington, D.C. speaking on behalf of teachers everywhere. He was the only celebrity who appeared at the rally. Of course, it helps that his mom who is a teacher no doubt helped organize the rally, but still, he flew from a movie shoot in Canada to New York and then from New York to Washington just to give his time. And you know what? He said a lot of great stuff.
I've never been a fan of standardized testing, which (to me at least) relies on the notion that all students are basically the same. Which, of course, they are not. Each student is different and learns at a different pace and has different interests and motivations and so to try to test them all equally is just asinine. When I started my student teaching back in 2004, I was very against state standards. But my cooperating teacher at the time had come up with a way to simplify the standards to use them to our advantage. He too had been very against the idea of being restricted to teaching to a series of standards until he realized that those standards were just a guideline, and that as long as you stuck with that guideline, you were okay. Like teaching parody? As it was a Senior Media Lit class, we watched an episode of The Simpsons and then had the students respond to the different types of satire that occurred. Story setting and characterization and flashbacks and other story devices? We watched a few episodes of Lost (this was during the first season of the show when many people didn't even know what it was yet). Anyway, it goes on and on. Thinking outside the box was what got me through student teaching and which helped the students become more engaged. The standards didn't become a limitation so much as a chance to do something different. Of course, I still think they're asinine, but that's okay, because Matt Damon is awesome.