I was watching a show on the Travel Channel called the Toy Hunter. A guy named Jordan Hembrough travels across the globe in search of rare vintage toys to sell at the New York Comic Con, which is a big toy show swap meet. It amazed me at how many middle aged guys and some gals had huge collections of toys. They have them on display in cases and stored on shelves. It looks almost like an organized hoarder. One guy summed it up very well. It is what I believe all of them are doing. He said, “I am trying to get all of the toys that my parents couldn’t afford to get me when I was a kid.”
In a way, I think most of us are kind of like that one way or another. I made me think about the stuff I do and collect. First of all, there are our multiple family trips to Disney World. When I was a kid, my parents took me once when I was three years old. I barely remembered it, but enough that I wanted to go back. The second time I went to Disney was on my honeymoon. By that time they had three parks that you could visit. They had added Epcot and what was called MGM studios, now called Hollywood Studios. When my wife and I had our two daughters we began going every year when my youngest was two and half. They are now 11 and 15. We have created many wonderful memories. I believe I have relived some of my childhood through my daughters as I watched them experience the different things at Disney World. I know my mother is reading this and I just want to say I had a good childhood. We had many great trips and vacations. However, we never went back to Disney.
As a child I played with plastic army men and dressed up in my father’s Air Force uniforms by the hours. I also attempted to build plastic models that always ended up looking hideous. Today, I guess I am still playing army by collecting military memorabilia. During the summer, I always set up a “modeling table” and put together 4 or 5 plastic models from May to August. They aren’t professional, but I am proud of them. I mainly put together military planes and vehicles that I display with my military collection. Again, I am doing something that I always wanted to do as a kid, but didn’t have the patience to do it.
Lastly, I was always fascinated with the Star Wars movies. Sure enough, I have a small collection of figures and spaceships. I even have a few figures that I didn’t have as a kid, but always wanted. Now that Disney owns the rights to Star Wars, it is almost a match made in heaven for me.
What has this got to do with education? In your classroom this fall, go in with new enthusiasm. Take in what I have written here and go relive your childhood with your students. Be the teacher you never had, but wish you had. Do the activities you wish your teacher would have done with your class. Make learning fun and exciting the way you would have wanted it to be when you were a student in whatever grade you teach. Show your creativity and encourage your students to be creative. Be the best that you can be and be passionate about the difference you make everyday.