So, I often get asked why I have an obsession with Yoda, and believe it or not, there are more prevailing reasons other than he’s my favorite color, green. Yoda means so much to me, so let me begin with, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”
I was crushing pretty hard on a geeky guy who was obsessed with the anniversary limited release of the star wars trilogy in theaters. He talked about it… all the time. None of the other girls in the class knew anything about Star Wars in these dark ages where young girls were encouraged to like Disney princesses and dolls, not science fiction and action figures. I didn’t have any close friends and had long since given up on social conformity, so Stars Wars sounded very interesting. I really wanted to be able to talk to my crush about the movie, in hope that being the only girl in the class who knew about Star Wars would make me look more impressive. I rushed home one weekend and begged my father to let me watch all of his Star Wars trilogy VHS tapes. I was originally only planning on watching “A New Hope”…. but I ended up enjoying Star Wars so much that I spent the entire weekend watching all three movies.
I still remember vividly the very first time Darth Vader said, “Luke I am you father.” I ran downstairs shouting for my father and demanded to know what he felt about Darth Vader’s confession. He apparently didn’t remember or know this plot, lol. So it got us both bonding while watching the movies together, we even went out to the theater to see “A New Hope” in theaters. My father is a nice guy, but he always seemed disconnected from life which made it hard for us to bond. Having Star Wars as a common interest really meant a lot to me. I fell in love with the classic heroic tale set in a science fiction world. I used “May the Force be With You” as a signature phrase when I made ransom note style letters from “a mysterious VIP” to my crush. It drove him crazy for about two years until I finally confessed to him my mysterious identity. My plan to be impressive never really worked, but through the experience I had found a new love in the Star Wars Trilogy.
My favorite character without a doubt became Yoda. To me, Yoda was the epitome of a wise, strong teacher. Yoda started instruction immediately, and he worked relentlessly and somewhat patiently with Luke, who wasn’t an easy student to teach due to his whining, complaining, impatience and negativity. Yoda taught by modeling, demonstration, and he used a variety of techniques to train Luke in the ways of the Force. Even though Yoda obviously cared about Luke because he spent much of his time training, teaching and working with him, Yoda was firm and honest with Luke when he needed to hear the truth. Yoda is apparently considered by some individuals to be a jerk for using the phrase, “Do or Do Not, There is No Try.” Yes, it’s a very firm phrase, but a good instructor sets high expectations for their students and doesn’t merely accept minimum effort. Yoda is like a college professor who won’t accept your poorly written paper when they know you can do better work, but they won’t lower the bar because they want to push you to reach your greatest potential. I highly respect those practices in education, and I saw Yoda as a wise, amazing teacher and I started thinking “W.W.Y.D.” when I confronted difficult situations within my first years of teaching.
As time passed, Yoda gradually became more connected to my life. After I had seen all of the movies, my mother told me she thought it was cute that I loved Yoda so much because he had always reminded her of me. She told me when I was born, I always looked like a serious little Yoda. I even had the ears sticking out on my tiny head. So in addition to other various nicknames, she started referring to me as “her little Yoda.”
So I’ve continued these years to embrace my yoda-riffic self, which is apparently enough to get unfriended in some social circles. I drive the “YODAMBL,” translated as Yodamobile… which is my green Subaru Crosstrek XV, complete with Yoda navigation via my GPS. At my last job, one of my students always called himself Chewbacca and he called me Yoda. He drew me cute pictures of Yoda and Chewie learning together. I absolutely loved it.
At my current job, my students see Yoda as my own personal avatar, so I’m ending up with a million adorable picture of me and Yoda side-by-side. On the official school tour, the director will drop by with guests to the school and they play the “Let’s count all the Yodas” in my class (their count is never accurate, they always miss at least one Yoda hiding somewhere). We also have adopted “Do or Do Not. There is no try” as a daily classroom motto because I want my students to know their best work is expected in my class. Having Yoda as my personification definitely beats being associated with Uncle Fester, which students at my first job kept calling me (and I absolutely have no clue where that name came from and couldn’t get my students to better explain it to me). Anyway, I don’t expect everyone to like Yoda as much as I do, but respectfully I am a huge Yoda fan girl. I don’t see that changing any time soon.