Oddly, I’m about done with a new book. Its working title is “Ten Years In” and it’s about my many, many adventures teaching high schoolers how to do TV. I’m not sure if it’s good or not but it’s much more…visceral than the motorcycle books. The motorcycle books are really just stories and good sound practice and there’s not much in the way of risk in writing them. Sure, I tell a story here or there that is interesting or embarrassing and there are flights where I wonder off into the emotion and feel of riding but this is different. I’m more invested or exposed or…I don’t know what.
On the scooter side I can ride. I’m not worried about giving crap advice because I can strap a motorcycle to my rear end and get it to do what it does best and how to relate that action and emotion to readers.
But teaching isn’t as elegant and brutal a thing as riding. I can teach your kid to shoot, edit and produce video but my real duty is to help them grow up, to point at the hole in the bridge and then pull them out when they fall in. I think I may be a crappy teacher but I’m a good coach. My students are my ’employees’ and I’m the ‘boss’ and there grades are their ‘paychecks’ and sometimes I pay a full days wage for a half days work and full days effort.
I don’t think math teachers do that. Or maybe they do. In the end there’s no standardized test for my guys. I try to teach 4 things:
1. BE THERE.
2. BE ON TIME.
3. GET THE JOB DONE.
4. DO THE JOB TO SPEC.
I really test them after 2 years when I hand them to a football, basketball or wrestling coach and I say, “This is the student who’s gonna give you a year end highlight reel–make sure they give you what you want.” Then that kid flies or dies. In the end they sit there with 50 or 100 schoolmates, parents, family and friends and get either an ovation or silence.
And they face that dragon alone. I don’t go. You made it–you claim it.
That’s how I teach. That’s how I test.
And I’m not sure, academically speaking, that its really teaching. I guess I’m scared someone is going to find out and say, “You’re having too much fun. Knock that shit off.”
I try to make sure every child, every single dang one of them, feels success in my classroom. I don’t give away free and frivolous esteem, I watch and I see and I know when they are putting every once of horsepower they can muster to the ground.
I teach them to die trying. Lost all your video? Computer ate your project? Get up off the floor and fight for it! Did you backup to the portable hard drive? Is the there an autosave version? Checked the trash? Go get one of the IT kids and let’s see what they can do. Keep fighting. Then, when it’s all said and done and you’ve fought it to the ground and you’re choking it out and it taps? Get up in front of those people and be gracious taking the compliments because you earned them.
There’s nothing better than watching a 100lb girl who’s been hiding behind everyone else step up and say: I MADE THAT. IT’S MINE. And get the credit she deserves. That’s a win. I’ll wait you out. I’ll be patient. I’ll cajole. I’ll tell you the truth even if it’s uncomfortable but I will get the most out of you.
And I’m scared someone is going to look at what I do and then take it away.
Strange the things we fear, yes?