What Brings Me to Tears?: #sol15 3/31

I woke up this morning without something to write about.  I didn’t panic because I knew that I had treasure trove of Slicers to ignite me.
Thank you Margaret Simon for THIS one. Her powerful slice actually brought me to tears.

Movies often bring me to tears- those moments of honest emotion, couples, parents and kids etc.  Tuvia is always poised with his handkerchief as I tear, often  sob but  my  most meaningful movie  tearing came from my continued viewing of award-winning Schindler’s List, created by Steven Spielberg, my hero.

My first time was on its opening day at the Spring Valley Marketplace, Christmas Day.  I waited on a long time on a long line on a cold winter day and didn’t get in for that performance but I bought a ticket for the second showing hung out at Dunkin’ Donuts, drinking lots of coffee and reading  and read and drank a lot of  for the next three and 1/2 hours.

Once I was finally inside, sitting in a standing-room-only audience, the couple next to me began chatting.  Holocaust survivors.   From the opening theme song, the first frame of the film when the candle is blown out, we three began to sob.

I didn’t move for the next 3 1/2 hours. No one did.
I was sure I could never go through that experience again, but I have, many times.

Once this movie was out I couldn’t teach the Holocaust without it.  Sure, it took time, close to a week of precious class time,  given that I had a open policy that I would pause the film for any question or comment and my kids took that seriously.

There was a point in the movie though when my tears would start to flow and I never hid them from my 8th graders.  Sometimes I had to walk out of the room and they understood.

Soon I realized that it was important for them to see me sob and understand my personal connection to this dark moment in history.

Once, on the last day of a viewing, my principal came looking for me on a prep period.

” I think you need to get down to the nurse’s office and check in with some of your students.  You are needed.”

I raced down the staircase, taking the side door into Pat’s office. a circle of my students were sharing a hug with Pat.  They opened a space for me.

We cried together.  Good tears, in a circle of tears.

Thanks again Margaret.


17 thoughts

  1. I didn’t see this in a theater but at home with my wife. I realise it loses some of its impact on the small screen, but it was still a powerful film. Left us both choked up and speechless by the end. Then conversation began.

  2. I remember seeing this when it first came out — what a powerful experience. I have not watched it again. The ending, when the actors walk from black and white into color, with the actual survivors was so touching for me. Your students are very lucky to have you teaching the Holocaust.

  3. Such power …. and I saw it at home, too, not on the theater, and was moved to tears, too. We recently watched it with our older sons. While they did not tear up (or hid the tears), the movie sparked deep discussions about humanity and filmmaking in our household.

  4. I love your connections here. We could write a whole post about making connections. It is a special moment when you share tears.

  5. Such a powerful movie. I remember watching it at home – I remember what I was wearing – that I did not move until the movie was over – that I cried and cried some more – and the long, sad, painful discussions about man’s inhumanity towards others the movie sparked. Your post made all those memories come flooding back….

  6. Oh, Bonnie, I’m teary just reading your post. This is such a tragic period of history, and it’s so important that we remember and try to make sense of ourselves as humans, all here together. Thanks, friend.

  7. I saw this movie for the first time with my high school class. We watched it in the auditorium as a grade level. I remember the tears, the tough guys who didn’t show the tears and everything in between. It was a powerful experience as a student and I look forward to sharing it with my children some day. Sometimes those tears are just necessary!

  8. Wonderful retelling moment, Bonnie! I’m so glad you shared. I haven’t watched this movie; I was afraid of the tears and sobs I knew would be inevitable. But maybe soon…

  9. Thank you so much for sharing, Bonnie! It’s a beautiful post, and I loved your inspiration post as well. Sometimes I think we try to so hard to keep our emotions hidden from students, but when we do show them, it can be amazing. I love the line – “We cried together. Good tears, in a circle of tears.”

  10. Such a powerful retelling of this experience. So glad you were able to cry with your students. I’m sure this is a teaching moment they will never forget.

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