But I've also seen a lot of incredible things. I've seen moments where my students show far more humanity and caring than I can muster myself. I've seen students with so little left give away their very last possessions. I've seen the kinds of things that you never forget, that you bring up in conversation as the ultimate trump card that says, yes, there is value in every person.
But just last week, I saw something in my classroom that wasn't just disappointing or simply incredible.
I saw the nerdiest drawing ever.
For privacy and legal reasons, I can't say much about this student. But I can say this student is a young child with special needs and who is absolutely, unconditionally in love with Han Solo. And I specifically mean the 1977 Harrison Ford Han Solo. If this student sees a picture of the old-school Han Solo, an immediate hand-shaped heart is made.
So on this particular afternoon, the student had time to draw. The student first showed me a picture of a My Little Pony-ish horse with a Han Solo tattoo on it's hindquarters. It was impressive. But I'd seen that kind of random creativity before. She then showed me her next picture. And this is what I saw:
However, in the 1997 Special Edition, George Lucas couldn't help himself, and tweaked the scene to show that Greedo drew first and Han Solo merely shot in self-defense. There are many stories about why such a change was made. Lucas has gone so far as to say that Han only shot first due to poorly-done cinematography that didn't make his storytelling intentions clear. But there are many who feel like the verdict is clear: Lucas doesn't even understand his own iconographic character.
Now, maybe I am reading too much into this. You could I even say I may be reading what I want to see in it. But maybe, just maybe, it's exactly what it is. The universe is bigger than we can ever imagine, so there should be enough room for one charming student with special needs to adore Han Solo and draw the nerdiest picture ever.