Here's my example presentation:
You might see me as...an angry-all-the-time white guy who follows all the rules and only want you to do things his way.
What you don't know is...that I'm a liberal-minded Mormon who used to dress weird and listens to indie music, anything different.
I most identify with...punk culture and nonconformists.
(Side note: Remember that this was a presentation for my class of high school juniors. They said I pretty much nailed it on the head with how they view me. In an effort to keep them engaged I also decided to focus more on who I was at their age rather than who I am now. I don't think it would have gone well had I brought in a Book of Mormon for show and tell.)
The text I shared with them is the following song, "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies. I showed them lyrics from the verse about the Pepsi, along with the chorus. You get the whole terrible classic video. Lucky ducks.
I then proceeded to explain that this song is a plea for thinking for yourself. The lyric "All I wanted was a Pepsi" has been a kind of rallying cry to me for making my own choices. All teenagers struggle through a phase where no one in the world understands them, especially their parents. I went through it. But it doesn't have to mean a flat rejection of where you come from, your family's values, beliefs, education. (That would be just as unthinking, wouldn't it?) It just means that you follow what you follow for your reasons, not anyone else's.
I got a kick out of showing my students this aspect of my life and relished the opportunity to play a skatepunk masterpiece for them. Each class seemed to appreciate my efforts, despite their general aversion to the sound of the song itself. And they seemed to work the rest of the class period, filling out the charts and thinking about what they would say about themselves.
The next day they were supposed to present for themselves. Half of the class of forty one day, the other half the next day. (Yes, each class has forty students. It's unwieldy.)
Five students were prepared to present first period. Only three second period.
I offered them a second chance. After those prepared students presented, I told the rest of the class that if they wrote me an explanation about why they were not prepared on time, and why they deserve another chance, then they might be given the opportunity to make it up. Last quarter our writing unit was all about persuasive rhetoric, so I added that they should know all about how to convince me.
You can probably guess how many of them took advantage of this timely offer. Two students in first period, and one of those was a student who already presented and wanted to go again (she didn't do well). Six students left me an explanation from fourth period, and three of them had been absent and didn't really know what was going on anyway.
As icing, these persuasive letters were less than convincing. One said,
"I work from 4:00 pm to 10:30 pm that's a 6 hour shift & Im in school for 6 hour's as well so you can see that I dont have time to do homework because when I come home I dont wanna do anything but sleep but sure thing tomorrow I will have it for sure."Apostrophes and sentences structure aside, this brings up a slew of troubles that I have to deal with every day with every student I have. But mainly what I'm thinking is, "What's going to make tonight any different from last night?"
I'm sure if I did get an explanation from every student, each one would be as equally compelling as this one.
So I'm stumped. I've done all I know how to do as well as I know how.