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O Captain! My Captain!

I wrote and shared last week my beginning of the year unit for my 8th graders, and after today I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get through it without crying in class. I was visiting with my mom today when we found out about Robin Williams, and it was absolutely shocking. I realize that I never met him, and I could never claim to have some attachment to him in any personal way, other than the fact that his talent profoundly affected me.

I'll never forget watching him hilariously narrate the dolphin video In The Wild in science class,

enchant everyone as the heartfelt genie in Aladdin,

inspire us as Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society,

and so many, many more iconic roles. For me personally, I will always remember seeing DPS and being inspired to teach. The character of Mr. Keating is an inspiring character on his own, but the life that Robin Williams gave to him brought it to a completely different level that I absolutely knew I had to aspire to as an educator. I'm not sure that any other actor could have done what he did as brilliantly.

It's hard to imagine that someone who brought such joy, laughter, and inspiration to the world could be so sad inside. We must always remember that no matter what our place or position in life, there are struggles no one will ever see at the surface level. I will definitely remember it as the school year starts.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here's the lesson revolving around Dead Poets Society and the poetry of Walt Whitman, it's free on TpT if you are interested.


  1. Oh my...I really do stay out of touch with the world during summer vacation. I hadn't heard this news until your post. I am so saddened by this news, and my heart aches for his family.


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