“Dead Poet’s Society” and “Everything is in our Hands”

The other day I had my teachers watch the Robin Williams movie “Dead Poet’s Society.” In many ways it is similar to “Emperor’s Club” but in other ways it takes a decided turn by the end of the movie.  DPS is a melancholy movie but it always creates GREAT discussion afterwards. I like to use Moodle as a place for my teachers to discuss amongst themselves what their thoughts are on different topics. I’m giving you a peak into what  two said to each other in reflecting on the plot and what it means to them in present day life in Astana, Kazakhstan.

I told my students after the movie was over and we were exploring different topics it brought up that this was based on a true story.  Well, apparently I was wrong! The only part I had right was the character Robin Williams played, in real life he was Sam Pickering, Jr.  I googled and found the plot is based not on real life events but instead on fiction, yet google seems too silent.  I know that Sam Pickering really exists, he has many books he has written and if you look in Wikipedia, you will see for yourself.  But what happens in the movie and what actually happened in Pickering’s real life, we may never know.  The following is what I found out and it provided a way to give proper attribution to the website where I found “Is DPS Based on a True Story?”

According to the Alumni Department of Montgomery Bell Academy:

“The movie “Dead Poets Society” was written by Thomas Schulman, a 1968
 graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy. The teacher portrayed by Robin
 Williams in the movie was based on one of Mr. Schulman’s teachers while he
 was at MBA, Mr. Sam Pickering. The events in the movie, however, are purely
 fictional.”

John Keating. Dead Poets Society: The Death of a Romantic. Retrieved November 27, 2010, from AntiRomantic.com.
< http://www.antiromantic.com/john-keating >

The following discussion shows what two of my students wrote in reflecting on this movie.  I LOVE the expression “Everything is in our Hands.” We don’t have anything quite like it in English but it must be a direct translation from Russian to mean “It is our responsibility.”

Teacher A: Mr Keating is a real teacher who should teach at school. He gives true opportinities for students to discover themselves and understand who they are. Such teachers are endangered or only a few. Old teachers do not do good for their students and do not let do it “real” teachers. I believe that teachers must be good examples for others and must do their best.

I was so sad when a boy died. Everybody blamed Mr Keating for his death. He just taught that a person should “seize the day” and try to realize one’s own dreams. I hate this situation. Mr Keating wanted to help but other teachers did not love him because he was “strange” while students really loved him. Mr Keating had extraordinary teaching methods which were not the same with the headmaster or other teachers.

Sometimes administration is afraid of genius teachers and tries to get rid of them. But this leads to breakup and braking of educational system.

I hope that something or somebody will survive us and change the system. Because a lot of lives and our future depend on the system of education.

Teacher B: I think those, who are jealous of others are ignorant people(It sounds rude). They are ignorant not because they don’t know what other person knows, but they are ignorant that they do not try to be like this man.

We will survive we will make the changes and add additions for the future of our republic!

Teacher A: Let’s do all our best  Everything is in our hands!

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