Extending Jeffers’ Voice

As I sat on my couch Saturday morning to review student teachers’ vlogs about their week of teaching in middle and high school English classrooms, one young man shared a powerful “teacher moment” about a student who made a suggestion that would improve his lesson. The student didn’t tell him directly, but did so indirectly, via his resource teacher. Grasping the moment, he tracked the student down in the hallway during the 10-minute break, thanked him for the suggestion, and made the adjustment to his plan. The student felt empowered, the next class was richer for the seized moment, and then he ended his vlog by pointing down and saying, “I saw a really cool video that everyone must watch. It is below this vlog.” He leaned up close to the camera and said, “Listen up cohort, you will need this for student teaching.”

So I clicked on the video and it has inspired me since. The more I think about this it, the more I am impressed with the choreography that we do not see. Mathew Jeffers’ sent this e-mail to the Ravens’ football coach, but the multimedia composition that extended Jeffers’ voice to the 146,285 viewers since its Jan. 31 post (which really only reflects some of the audience since videos are viewed by more than one person at a time AND it was broadcast on ESPN) is powerful. The relational development that is discussed in Baym’s (2010) Personal Connections in the Digital Age has a more complex web in this example, because not only are Jeffers, the coach, and players connected, but Jeffers’ message inspired thousands.

The composition of this piece involved thoughtfulness, work, and time. Contacts and permissions must have been granted, interviews held, video clips chosen, music selected, and then the video was crafted. I wonder how long that all took. I appreciate the effort, because the message is enduring.

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