Beautifully done article. I was about the same age (6th grade) when President Kennedy was assassinated, November 1963. I wish my teachers at the time had taken the initiative to talk with us about what happened. Instead, all I remember is teachers crying, chaos, being sent home early. I think all of the students in my elementary school could have benefited, just as your students seem to have benefited from your discussion with them on Thursday. Thank you for writing about what you did!
Well Done, Mr Singer! Keep up the good work. It’s folks like you who may manage to rebuild our nation.
We the People need you!
One statement exploded into my brain-A wealth of knowledge, but no idea how to use it.
This is one of the mortal flaws in our culture. We have no Elders to educate children on ways to use all of that knowledge because we have learned wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks. Instead, elders are imprisoned in nursing homes, isolated in homes, certainly not visible in any media platforms. Instead, we are mocked for not being tech savvy, for hesitating and thinking about changes before jumping into them.
Knowledge without context is useless, a mass of unrelated facts. But a culture with Elders passing on long tested ways and ideas raises children who are able to reason through experience and adapt to changing conditions.
Thanks for being there for your students.
And explaining so well what’s going on.
The powers that be always try to poison the water and this is what young people have to wade through on a daily basis. They have to be able to be taught to think critically and Mr Sanger is doing exactly that.
The Military is still the most esteemed Government institution in the USA. There is no way it should be that. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney was a high ranking officer in the Military and he is claiming the reason Pelosi wants to “get Trump” is because Special forces and ANTIFA members “disguised as Trump supporters” stole a laptop out of Pelosi’s office which has information on it that will incriminate here.
These peoples keep pushing the narrative that this was an ANTIFA led riot.
Keep them on their toes Mr Sanger!
So interesting from many angles. First on what these middle schoolers know and yet don’t know before the real dialogue begins.
One imagines them in houses where the TV is always on as distraction from being alive in the background. Turned to which station? I didn’t say, did I.
A very different level of involvement from that of shamans a generation older than the kids’ parents and steeped in now news.
So the teacher’s first task is just to make the event come real.
I found as a recent sub in the Betsy De Vos Detroit charters that if I tried to tie current event to present study “observers” would almost immediately invade my classroom and object. Clearly word of unusual teaching probably from kids taking fake bathroom breaks had spread through the school.
If I was lucky a pair of hip regular teachers then would appear to take my side and reinforce my effort.
As a sub one can’t do much since one doesn’t yet know the student names.
But I can see how a Zoom class could remediate this. Elder subs who think about current events all day every day should be permitted to conduct Zoom classes along with the regular teachers at any school.
Actually I can imagine it would be even easier to disconnect the teacher from the students in a “zoom” class setting when a objectionable subject came up, if it were monitored like you describe in the charter school you substituted in, they would just interrupt the signal feed to the student.
The biggest eyeopener in this story to me was when the author asked if they knew who George Floyd was, and no one could answer. How can this be possible with the amount of protesting and media covering this story received?
Exactly-- your statement about George Floyd. And of course you are right about an increased opportunity for censorship. But one has to put educational strategy first and let the chips fall where they may. With all the talk about sedition now going on it is perhaps important to remember that there is such a thing as good sedition too which is possible every day. All teachers should aspire to it?
Although I was educated years ago, and didn’t realize it at the time, I would estimate about 90% of the teachers I encountered did aspire to the good sedition you talk about, and yes I agree they should all aspire to it. The same can be said about racism in schools in my experience. I was educated in both Northeastern and Southeastern school systems, shortly after the Civil Rights Act was passed, and even in the Southern schools, my teachers were the least racist group of adults I came in contact with, compared to the general population. A higher % than Northern teachers, but much less than the rest of the population at the time.
Thanks for the discussion, which I really enjoyed, and I feel I may have learned something. It’s altogether too easy to be cynical.
“… We have no Elders to educate children…”
I sympathize with your assessment. You wouldn’t want the elders I grew up under, anywhere near a microphone. Most of them would be -and actually still are- cheering these idiots, enthusiastically along. Before we turn to our wise elders for solace, we first need to cultivate this crop of wise elders. At present, I am unhappy to report, those crops of elders are sadly quite sparse -and more importantly, gravely lacking in nutritious soil in order to nurture those tender roots of cultural wisdom…
This is why this educational meme is so important… Not just the young -or the old- but even more critically, that very myopic middle tier. The world cries for education and wisdom -from all tiers…
Looks like we’ll be starting 2021 off with a massively fresh pile of manure. I’m no farmer, but I hear-tell that’s where the best crops arise from…
Hope springs eternal…
Yes cynicism is an easy escape from the responsibilities of civic participation. Being a citizen of a democratic republic is not easy – just ask the Georgia organizers!
"There’s so much I’d like to do for my students…
But when all those things are out of reach, I still have one thing left to give.
Thank you Mr. Singer for your indispensable service to our kids and future. You draw out your students, empower them and encourage them to make connections and draw their own conclusions. You should be paid the equivalent of a brain surgeon.
With respect, I would have gone further. Back in my 8th grade, we had a course called “civics” where we learned the difference between living under a monarch, a dictator, or the rule of law. I would have thrown out the names of Fanny Lou Hamer and Stacey Abrams, two people who overcame crippling injustice to awaken citizens to their responsibility and correct the sources of those injustices, thus adding permanent building blocks to the true “citadel of democracy.”
I might have reminded them of Elizabeth Powel’s question of Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention, “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” and his reply, “A republic … if you can keep it.” (All of this is searchable on Wikipedia.)
But that’s just me.
LOL! I’m an elder, but I hope I am still of some use.
Trust you also discussed state violence against its own and other peoples, in the form of regular police killings of citizens at an average of 3-4 per day, in the form of high incarceration rates, in the form of nurturing a gun culture, in the form of droning of foreign and US nationals, in the form of murdering of foreign leaders, in the form of instigating real coup in other countries etc. That would have been a proper context for critical thinking. And especially the fact that several of these congress people experienced just this time, a fraction of what many school children do when a gun shooting happens at their school, with the difference that they have neglected to do anything about it for years, and thus they too have plaid a part in inflicting violence on others.
Well, first of all, that ‘manure’ reference was in regards to that mob on the Capital itself. With regards to the ‘elders’ reference -as one in their mid-sixties myself- I believe I also qualify. And I am pretty sure I ain’t ready to hang up my spurs just yet either…
One of the most wonderful history books I ever read, was by Howard Zinn and it was
The Peoples History of the United States." That’s the best book for so many ages of kids that I ever read. It tells the TRUTHS that most school history books in the United states don’t follow, and that is so very sad. Reading that book makes a person realize that America has many miles to go before it can sleep, as neglecting reality cheats all the People.
It’s too much. One could not present all these topics at once and still be effective. One would simply be deemed a crazy person and hustled out of the school before lunch. That would be the case whether one was a regular or a sub.