It’s back to school time- my second of which I will not be returning along with the throng of anxious teachers, eagerly and not so eagerly awaiting what the year will bring. And since I will not be in the trenches with you, I will be here on the sidelines instead, cheering you on, and reminding you of an oh-so-important aspect of your job.
It often falls on you, wanted or not, to do a little parenting of those students entrusted to your care for the day, for 42 minutes at a time, or a larger block depending on age and schedule. It always has. Truth be told, some parents are just too… well… whatever may be the case, it’s always been part of the job, for all ages of students. I taught 9th grade for most of my 11 1/2 years teaching, and it was easy to tell that I was one of the few people who really gave my time and attention to certain students. They craved every second and needed it because it was lacking in their lives, and that was throughout my experiences in three districts.
More than ever, these kids need you. They are growing up in a world that is completely losing its mind, morals, and humanity. Protesting, violence, hate all being spewed across the media. Hate is becoming cool again, not that it ever truly went out of style, but it certainly is a more prominent fashion accessory these days. These students need to be educated about the effects that hate can have on society, and the effects it has had in many societies across the world.
Although I was an English teacher, we did a research based genocide unit within my classroom, using Brendan January’s Genocide: Modern Crimes Against Humanity as a resource. This was the culmination of a Holocaust unit which came after studying about many cultures through their literature from throughout the world. I heavily incorporated lessons that were very historical in nature along with the literature to help students, as best as I could, to understand and learn about cultures and beliefs that were different from their own.
Never preaching, always teaching and exploring new ideas. Learning to see that different is not bad, it’s just different and that there is a space for all of us together in this world, with far more that unites us than should be allowed to divide us.
And that needs to be the calling of all teachers today, in all age ranges and subject areas. Not that it hasn’t always been part of the call, and not that teachers across the United States haven’t been trying to do just that for years… but more than ever we need you, teachers. Jimmy Fallon, in his Tonight Show monologue after the Charlottesville, Virginia riots stated this need very well, ““But as kids grow up, they need people to look up to—to show them what’s right, and good. They need parents and teachers, and they need leaders who appeal to the best in us.” And he’s right. Our kids need you- to show them, even if their parents already do and especially if their parents don’t, the importance of humanity, kindness, education, and how to work together even when don’t agree, or share the same views.
Teachers heading back to school, as always and now more than ever, your curriculum is not all that you are teaching. Do not be weighed down by this as another burden on your already heaving shoulders, but rather stand up to the challenge, face it head on with pride and honor that you influence so many lives every day, and know that you can make a positive change one person at a time.
Check out, share, and comment on these posts too: