Educators deserve a break. That's just as true for teachers as it is for Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of "Hamilton."
You've heard of it, right? The smash Broadway hit with a talented and diverse cast spitting rhymes about our country's Founding Fathers that's been fetching an average of $1,000 per ticket?
Miranda has been going nonstop for more than a year and a half in the eponymous role of the first secretary of the treasury of the United States — after first, ya know, writing the entire musical — so now the time has come for him to take his own summer vacation.
But just two days before his final on-stage performance, Miranda also found the time to speak with 200 high school teachers in Manhattan.
The MacArthur Award-winning genius went to the Broadway Teachers Workshop and talked about the power and value of education and the important lessons of youth.
But this conversation was far more than some fun celebrity fluff. As a former high school teacher himself — and as someone who wrote an historical musical that teaches about the founding of our nation in a fresh, new, and delightfully anachronistic way — Miranda had some pretty insightful things to say to those often overworked and underappreciated shapers-of-minds.
Here are a few highlights from Miranda's lecture and the Q&A that followed:
1. Teaching is its own reward, and nothing's better than watching students learn and grow.
2. You might not learn about cooperation and collaboration in a textbook, but they'll carry you far beyond the classroom.
3. Students see the world in ways that grown-ups can't — and that's a good thing.
4. It's one thing to memorize facts and figures. But it's even more important for students to understand and relate to other people.
5. Things like high school theater can help you learn and grow by working closely with other students toward a larger goal. (Even if you don't plan to take it all the way to Broadway.)
6. History books are full of facts and details. But they're also full of real people who lived and breathed and struggled, just like you.
7. Everyone sees the world differently, so it's OK for students to disagree — just as long as they can have a conversation about it.
8. If you hate something, don't shut it out. It might be able to teach you something about yourself or the world around you.
9. And perhaps most importantly: Don't throw away your shot. That goes for teachers and students alike.
In a time of inefficient standardized tests and shrinking school budgets, Miranda's words are a moving reminder of the true value of education — and the arts — in enriching our lives.
If you're a teacher, thanks for all the incredible work you to do encourage kids to keep learning.
And if you're not a teacher? There was probably at least one teacher who taught you how to think — really think — and that's a gift that deserves way more appreciation than it gets.