If you click the link above, and then decide to not be triggered by what you read, (as so many others have been) you’ll slowly start to see a bigger issue at play.
First, I’m going to tell you what the issue ISN’T:
The issue isn’t blaming others. It’s not about what our ancestors did. It’s not about how we’re continuing our admittedly long and gleeful oppression of those who are different, TODAY.
The real issue is: HOW WE TEACH SO THAT PEOPLE WILL BE WILLING TO LEARN.
Students can’t learn in an environment where they feel unsafe, or disrespected. The teacher in the article failed to remember that in her trip down Memory (read: self indulgence) Lane. She may have started out intending to teach the truth about the “White Man’s” violent taking of the US, (and many other lands and people) but when she got arguments from her students, she didn’t take the hint that she was making them feel too defensive to be able to LEARN.
While we can’t be held responsible for the feelings of others, or their perceptions of what we say and do, we do need to keep our eye on the prize.
If her goal was to teach a true accounting of history, then it wasn’t necessary to accuse or blame the kids in her class for a period of history that they never saw, because:
THEY WEREN’T BORN, YET.
It may not even have been necessary to bring up current events, during the history lesson. Granted, what we’re doing Today, in terms of oppressing others, with mass deportations, insults intimidation, police abuse of Black people, and a lack of pay equality in the workforce merely follows the familiar pattern. (Bad habits are hard to break).
We all KNOW that our refusal to cherish ALL life, (not just life still in the womb and not just lives that are similar to our own) is simply a disgusting habit that we picked up before we left the relative safety of Europe for the “unknown” and it would have been easy to point that out to the kids, by simply flipping through the history books, and having them do a little extra research, on Google.
When we came to this land, (The Americas) We lied, cheated, stole and killed to get it. And be sure that we could privately own it, (and not have those pesky Native Americans tramping across it every day) we made a (paying) business of going to other countries and stealing PEOPLE to help us settle the land, fence it in and farm it, so that it would be protected from those pesky Native Americans.
So yes, the teacher had her facts straight, but she failed at being a “teacher”.
She failed, when she fell into that same yawning pit that has so many of us trapped, right now:
We are so enamored of blaming each other, and hating those who disagree with us about who’s to blame; we are so involved in arguing for or against the current administration, for or against deportations, for or against tRump’s stupid parade, for or against an investigation into his having colluded with Putin to get into the Oval Office,…………that we’ve forgotten that there is a time and a place for all that conflict, dissent and debate.
We’ve forgotten that the classroom is a place not only for teaching, but also for learning, and maybe ………if this teacher is REALLY good at her job, she’ll come to realize what a valuable lesson she can learn from having failed her students and herself on this one day, when she slipped out of the role of teacher, and tried to take on the role of activist/pundit/critic:
It’s easy to blame others. It’s easy to see where our ancestors failed to be good people, and to carry that with us, to the point that it holds us back from breaking the pattern. I think that the possibility of breaking the pattern, NOW, is what this teacher was hoping the kids would see.
Sadly, in order to teach it, sometimes you have to take a step back, and NOT FEEL IT. You have to not get sucked into the whirling miasma that is the current attitude of anger, hopelessness, distrust, and bigotry that surrounds us. No one can keep their footing or their baring in a “whirling miasma”.
If you don’t step back from the edge, you’ll forget not only the whole point that you wanted to teach, but also the level at which you need to teach it. If you really want to teach, you need to consider the learning needs of your students. They will always need your respect if they’re going to be ABLE to learn from you.
A diatribe disguised as a class lecture just doesn’t cut it………………