My friend Jim Woolridge, AKA Señor Wooly, has come out with a new video story about a crazy surgeon who tries to resuscitate a man who has just died through, let’s just say, unconventional means.
Despite cameo appearances by my friends and awesome language teachers Haiyun Lu and Carrie Toth, as well as a heart-stirring performance by Stephen Krashen, my first exposure to the video left me scratching my head. I didn’t get it. I thought, “That’s stupid.” I closed my laptop with a sense of disappointment.
But a few days later, my son asked to watch Soy Guapo for what must have been the 13,381st time. And, since Alex has had the honor of playing piano with Dr. Krashen, I mentioned he was in Sr. Wooly’s new video. Did he want to watch it? Alex was pumped. He wanted to see Dr. Krashen act.
This, my second viewing, was different. My son was absolutely riveted. As a result, I felt the story differently. I felt the emotion and the build-up. I was watching this time with my human eyes, as opposed to my teacher eyes. I wasn’t asking myself “How will I use this in the classroom?” or “What unit can I include this in?” or “What vocabulary or grammar point will this reinforce?” I was just enjoying the story for what it was.
And, in the final scene, I observed as Alex was left completely and utterly speechless. I haven’t seen such a pure expression of incredulity and astonishment since Drew Barrymore saw E.T. for the first time.
It was then, seeing the look on Alex’s face, that I understood the genius of this story.
The next day, after school, I recruited some of my kiddos to watch it. It took seconds for them to be entirely drawn in. I had the camera ready and captured this image at just the right time:
This story pulls at your heartstrings and will stir emotion in every student. That’s what makes story so compelling – and compelling is the name of the game. If I taught upper levels, I would surely include this story in discussion about the role of grandparents in different cultures and boundaries of ethical behavior.
If you haven’t seen Ya Está Muerto yet, Sr. Wooly has it up on YouTube for a limited time. I’ve embedded it here. Take a look, but brace yourself!