Memories of nearly annual trips to Walt Disney World as a child are plentiful. My parents are the first generation in our family’s Disney Driven Life. Disney items filled our house, and we always were doing things related to the House of Mouse. My husband and I continued this with our honeymoon in Disney almost ten years ago. Now, we are making memories with our two boys via adventures to Florida and within our daily lives.
From an early age, I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Fifth grade was a big turning point in my life. This was the year that I had my first male teacher, who also happened to be a duck. Yes, Donald Duck was my fifth grade teacher. Alright, technically speaking Mr. D was not the Donald Duck, but he was about as close as you could get.
Mr. D collected everything related to Donald Duck. His collection was so large that he was often featured in Disney magazines. In addition to this, he would often talk in a spot-on Donald Duck voice. Much like the lovable feathered friend, Mr. D could get flustered. Sitting here now, I can just imagine him tossing off his beret and stomping his feet while doing an impression of the famous duck a la temper tantrum.
Computer games were starting to come out at this time. I remember Mr. D had an amazing Disney print program that he bought. He used it to give us time to explore technology and create something to use in the classroom. We were allowed to make Disney stationary. Talk about inspiration to an age group that often is reluctant to write! Toss on Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, or another character and we would all write.
In fifth grade, we celebrated holidays in our class. There was a small party for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah/Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and others. None of these even came close to the holiday on June 9. Yes, we had a party and all day celebration in class for Donald Duck’s birthday. Not only was fifth grade a lot of fun, I learned a lot towards my future profession.
Thanks to Mr. D, I learned that it is extremely important as a teacher to let your students into your life. Letting them see things that excite you outside of the regular curriculum makes you more human. When my students walked into my classroom for the first time, they were greeted with a giant stuffed Eeyore sitting on my desk. Kids would gravitate toward my blue friend, and he gave them something to hold onto when they needed to talk to me. If they were feeling blue, Eeyore was also there for them to bring back to their desk.
One of the ice breakers for my students was an all about me survey. They would fill out things about their favorite items. In return, I told them about myself – my passion for Disney, science, reading, traveling, and more. Kids would also come running to me after vacations to Disney World to share what they had done with their families. They knew that I could and would appreciate hearing their tales. Thanks to Disney, I had a way to really connect with my students and for that I will be forever thankful.
Keep checking back to hear more about EduMICKational things that I have used with my own children, in the classroom, and other ideas for teachers and homeschooling families.