What happens when you’re forced to relive your year

Something creepy interesting happened to me the other day. When I woke up the usual deluge of notifications was waiting for me on my phone. Emails from online vendors promised the best last-minute Christmas deals. News alerts let me know about things I’m not even remotely interested in. Calendar reminders showed up about events that I weirdly said I would attend, knowing that I would not even be in the same state at the time.

But, one thing popped up that I had never seen before. You see, I have one of those fancy Android phones (the kind that attracts lots of jokes about being the iPad mini). Part of the Android operating system is the Google Play suite of apps. There are all sorts of things that Google took the reins on (and go ahead Google! You’re doing just fine in my book!). One of the apps that I had never really dabbled in is the Google Photos app that is built into the operating system. Now, I have certainly used the Gallery app (the one that lets you look at the pictures you’ve taken with your phone), but I hadn’t opened the other app. I guess I just never needed to. But, I digress…

The notification that popped up was for something called an Auto-Awesome Video. I’m not joking here, people. That is what it was called. Google actually creates videos out of your pictures and video clips, sets them to music, and then lets you watch them. Creepy? Maybe. Magical? You have no idea.

This particular video that Google had prepared for me was a summation of my year in photos and videos. It was a no-brainer to hit play. The one thing I couldn’t predict was which photos and videos Google would decide made the cut. The usual selfies and blurry shots of friends were there. A few of my hokie video-diary-style videos were there. But, something was included that I didn’t really expect.

There were TONS of pictures and videos of my students!

Now, one thing you need to know about me is that I integrate technology into my lessons whenever possible. Or, maybe I’ve mentioned that before. Regardless, I snap pictures and make videos of my students all the time that we then watch and learn from. Often, this happens on-the-fly and my phone is the easiest (and best) device to capture these learning opportunities.

Although it was funny to see these pictures and videos come up, my first thought was to be a bit miffed at the fact that my students (ugh) were taking over my until-five-minutes-ago-unknown Google Auto-Awesome year-in-review video. But, as I watched, I started to reminisce about some of the great times I have with my students throughout the year.

The time we made videos about volcanic eruptions. The time I made them trudge through the mud to get to our observation point. The time I drew the amazingly amateur continental margin diagram on the board with the shark swimming around in the mantle of the Earth.

It really made me realize that the part of my job I love best is the memories I get to make with these crazy kiddos each and every day. It’s amazing to think that I am in a profession that allows me to interact with such an interesting sector of our society on a daily basis.

I guess I just really love it.

Thanks Google for forcing me to relive my year with my students!


I have a unique perspective on teaching. As a young guy, I still have that “world is my oyster” perspective on life, so I am more than willing to try new things in the pursuit of happiness. I have always been a naturally happy person and don’t shy away from trying to make others see that it’s easy to be happy! Thus, the blog you’re reading. The main impetus for actually putting all the work in to getting this blog up and running? A coworker stopped me in the hall one day and actually reprimanded me for being so smiley all the time. They actually said that I shouldn’t be so happy as a teacher! My response? Screw that! I SHOULD be happy. I now smile at that coworker EVERY time I see them…and usually say something like, “Isn’t this such great day to be a teacher?!” They don’t usually smile back… Don’t be like them.

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