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Being the Disney enthusiast I am, I recently watched Cars 3 in theatres. Going in with no expectations, I was pretty impressed. However, this isn’t a movie review. This is a reflection post about the movie and how it relates to education. Be advised… reading any further will spoil the end of the movie for you!

You all know the infamous Lightning McQueen. In the third movie, Lightning McQueen is up against all odds. He has to train hard to beat all the new car models he faces on the track. To do that, he is given a trainer, Cruise. Cruise always dreamt of being on the track, but due to circumstances she is now working for a training company. She mentors McQueen throughout the movie until he decides to go back to his roots. His journey back to what he knows allows him and Cruise to learn about one another’s past and push each other to be their best. Lighting McQueen sees the potential in Cruise. During his training and during the first race of his “last season”, he tags Cruise into the race. Thanks to Lightning McQueen’s mentorship and crew chief instincts, she gets the checkered flag!

At the end of the movie, we learn that Lightning McQueen believed in Cruise and saw something in her that she did not see in herself. Doc Hudson, Lightning McQueen’s mentor also believed in him when he doubted himself.

This lesson is something I think is soo important as an educator. I related this lesson to the teacher who sees the potential in their students. (Especially to those students who need it the most.) As a student, having that ONE teacher who believed in you, in essential to your journey and growth. These teachers are like Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson because they take the time to see the potential in their students. They look beyond the surface and find the real capabilities. They mentor, encourage and motivate students to do things they never thought they could achieve. They reassure in the times of doubt and inspire them to see the good that lies within themselves. After doing this, they accomplish great things and continue to push themselves. I always think: “You never know how something you say will impact someone’s life”. Supportive words and gestures can help a student find that extra drive inside of them. So, next time you want to give up on a student, think about what would have happened to Lightning McQueen if Doc Hudson hadn’t believed in him, or Lightning McQueen doing the same for Cruise.

As a Teacher Candidate, having people in my circle and PLN who push me to do things I never thought I could do is paramount to my personal and professional being. I am grateful when I think about the people around me who believe in me, support me and give me the extra little push when I need it. Sometimes I wonder if I would be where I am now if it weren’t for them. I strongly believe that Teacher Candidates need more mentors like Doc and Lightning McQueen to allow them to grow, pick them up when they are down and believe in them when they don’t always believe in themselves.