Thursday, February 2, 2017
Short Film: Toyland
Today, I am subbing in a high school German class. Seeing the teacher's standard-issue European penmanship on the notes around the class and the German and Swiss flags on the walls make me miss life in Switzerland so terribly. It makes me feel nostalgic hearing German and having the students greet me with an enthusiastic Guten Morgen as they come through the door.
On the sub plans for today is the short film, Spielzeugland, or Toyland in English. Normally sub plans make for very unfulfilling teaching days, I have to say. But today, Toyland has truly gripped the students' imaginations and hearts. I didn't even have to use the discussion prompt questions left by the teacher. At the students request, we watched the film first without subtitles, and then with subtitles for further comprehension. I thought it was a good plan and the film does a lot of flashing back and time changes, so it was definitely necessary.
As soon as we'd got through the second time, it blew my mind to see the students immediately begin discussing the film and making connections to their own lives, displaying incredible empathy and compassion for the characters' and the choices they had made. There is hope for our world, people. I feel so hopeful being here with these high schoolers today.
Toyland is a beautifully made, heart-wrenching short film, but it still takes me by surprise how infinitely harder I find it to watch things like this since having children. So, just a disclaimer: If you're like me, maybe grab a tissue before you start watching. It's obviously heavy subject material being set in Germany in 1942. But, with current events and the state of the world right now, this is a film that everyone should be watching today. I hope you'll enjoy it - and more importantly, if you like it - share it. We must not let history repeat itself.