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ISZL – Better Together (Paper Airplanes Video)

The way we shape our students’ lives is something that drives us, connects us, and even if we’re far away, brings us together.


Click above to view the video

Although we’re spending a great deal of time in virtual meetings in the distance learning model, it seems like teachers and students are feeling disconnected from each other. We don’t have the physical proximity of a classroom to give a sense of togetherness anymore. But it’s important to still feel the connection that unites us, because it’s still there. I wanted to build a video to lift some spirits but also to remind ourselves that we are still, in fact, in this together.

I chose to use paper airplanes partially because they’re built from materials that could be found in everyone’s home, but also because of what a paper airplane represents. The paper airplane to me is the student. It starts out a flat open canvas, utterly un-aerodynamic and in no way ready for independent flight. The two dimensional object is carefully folded and creased, until it has depth and purpose. I feel like that’s what we’re doing with our students. Shaping them, giving them guidance, and then sending them out on the winds. The extent to which we mould students’ lives is never fully revealed to us, but we all have a hand in it. That’s why I love the shot of the teachers passing a plane along and in some way affecting its form. The way we shape our students’ lives is something that drives us, connects us, and even if we’re far away, brings us together. 

An upbringing on the shores Michigan’s lakes instilled an urgent sense of exploration in Pete. He has taught math and physics in Michigan, Russia, Colombia, Chile, and Switzerland. Miranda left teaching for Chicago Public Schools for a year to learn Spanish in Colombia. That was 12 years ago. For Miranda, international teaching has sparked a yearning for adventure and a sense of belonging in a passionate community of educators and travelers.

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