Students interviewed veterans an active service members looking to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for their military experiences. All students enrolled in sophomore English completed this project individually while reading The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, a book that explores the Vietnam War.
This project was great; it allowed each students to take away something different. I think the biggest commonality we all learned was that so many veterans in our country are a bit overlooked in society. Several students commented that the veteran shared they don’t often get asked about their experiences. That really hit home for a lot of us– we all know our community doesn’t do enough for veterans, but I think we all feel that with much more conviction.
Fewer than half of my students knew someone to interview. That was a bit surprising… initially, I thought most students would have a connection to someone in the military. In a survey, 60% of my students responding saying they’d need me to help them find someone to interview. Thanks to our organization and social media, I was able to find over 40 veterans willing to discuss their experiences with students.
A handful of students had an interview fall through– I wish I would have had them reach out to their veterans a couple weeks earlier than we did. I thought I had planned enough time– two weeks– but in retrospect, I wish I would have had them reach out one to two weeks earlier. That would have allowed the handful of students who had major scheduling conflicts to find and schedule with another veteran.
The thing I’m most proud of is the meaningful, deep content of this project. Yes, the idea of a podcast is fun and has pizzazz. The real “win” with this project was the meaningful moments both my students and our veterans experienced throughout the project. They truly enjoyed listening to their veteran and learning about the sacrifices they made for our country. I’m so thankful to all the veterans who volunteered for this project. Thank you for service!
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