Maybe my favorite part of teaching AP classes is the last month of school, after all the AP tests have been taken. I really try to take advantage of that last, pressure-free month of school to get to know my students a bit better. Its not that I don’t get to know them throughout the course of the school year, because I do. Its just that the last month means we can, if the mood strikes, sit and talk about anything interesting without the weight of curriculum or tests hanging over our heads. I love it. This time connecting and talking taps into the interactive part of teaching that I find so fulfilling. This particular month, I happened upon a conversation with two of my junior students about a video I watched on TEDx the night before. In synopsis, the video featured an entrepreneur/philanthropist named Taylor Conroy who used unconventional fundraising methods to raise $10,000 to build a school in Kenya. I told the students how my wife and I were inspired by the video and the ease with which he was able to raise money and essentially change the world, and how cool would it be if a group of us pulled resources and used some of his methods to build a school in Africa over the summer. Since that conversation, things have taken off.
An email to Taylor Conroy led to a phone meeting where Taylor and I discussed the possibilities of using the fundraising/philanthropic powers of American students and schools to build, potentially, hundreds of thousands of schools in developing nations all over the world. He and I are still in talks of how to do something amazing, which pumps me up to no end. Meanwhile, my two students (we’ll call them T&C), took our idea and ran with it. Last week, they created a corporation (applying for non-profit, tax exempt status, and the whole shabang) as a means for collecting the money we are going to donate to build the schools. In one week, three of us have raised over $3500 and enlisted the help of 10 other students interested in joining the cause to use Taylor’s methods to raise the money to build a school. I would not be surprised if we have $10,000 raised in the next few weeks. Needless to say, things are still very much in their infancy and I hope there is much, much more to come. However, what I have learned is that big things can happen when you decide to act on thoughts. I have been inspired from TED lectures before, but only to the point to talk about them and share them with others. This time, with my new commitment to actually doing things rather than just talking about them, I think some actual purposeful good is going to come from the inspiration. I want to read this post one month from now and feel proud that things have progressed in the way that I envision them.
One note before I go. In my last post I wrote about my impending shoulder surgery and the tedious recovery that was to follow. Amazingly, the surgery revealed a far less serious shoulder issue than the doctor anticipated and informed me that recovery will be 4-6 weeks, and not 5-6 months as expected. It has been two weeks, and I am already out of my sling and have pretty much my whole range of motion back. Being almost back to normal so quickly has been very uplifting and that enthusiasm will certainly get put to good use.