Friday, October 21, 2005

Backlash Among the Young

Having taught as long as I have taught, I've come to know that most teachers are liberals and the rest of us duck for cover on a regular basis. I also realize that some liberal-type folks push their personal agendas a wee bit too far with their students. Case in point, a pair of my students came to me, let's just call them Ian and Janette (for accuracy's sake, let's just note that I did NOT call them Antwan and Taniqua). Now, my students understand that I have an open door policy for all students, no matter what their ethnicity, and many feel free to come visit and chat before or after school.

So late one afternoon while I was still reading "developing" students' papers and contemplating joining the Apostrophe Protection Society, in come Ian and Janette with their knickers all in a twist. I was surprised, because I hadn't had these two in class for a year, and our conversations had been limited to occasional chats and mere nods in the hallways. They plunked down on the floor near my desk and started to unload about their day...and their week...and their semester, most especially about this year's English class.

It seems that their English teacher had spent the entire first six weeks of school focusing on racism, genocide, and the Holocaust, all rotating around a 100-page book that anyone could read in one evening. The projects the kids were assigned to do in conjunction with the book, well, they were Holocaust morning, noon, and night.

Ian and Janette howled. Not literally, of course, but Ian spat a lot of angst and information as fast as he could talk. Seems they'd been lobbying for a balance of books from a European cultural model on the world literature list, but the teacher had chosen Asian, African, and Latin American books for the most part, and the European book she'd chosen was this Holocaust-focused one-hundred page epic. "Why not the European classics?" he sputtered. Indeed, they were nowhere to be found. Since Ian and Janette were of European descent, and students of the minority foreign language (German) taught at our school, Europe fascinated and enchanted them.

Janette piped in and added that, while they were required to do a project about the Holocaust, no one had specified the exact parameters, so they'd decided to do the "other side". Ian was going to do a profile of Adolf Hitler pre-WWII, totally factual. And Janette was going to do a profile of neo-Nazi groups today.

Well, y'all know I am a Christian and a Kinist and that is a very different frame of reference from pagan neo-Nazis. But I had to stifle a smile because it had only been a couple of weeks ago when those middle-aged white teachers had spontaneously combusted at that racist art exhibit, and here were a couple of lily-white Eurokids combusting on their own as well.

Nothing like a nice little fire to warm the hearth! I can't wait to go home and tell Big Sam.

2 comments:

Scorebored said...

Laurel, I smiled at what the two kids are planning, but my smile faded rather quickly as I thought about what's going to happen in the wake of their budding rebellion. Their teacher will likely flay them as hate-mongers in front of the entire class, who will respond by (at best) shunning the kids or (at worst) attacking them after class. Keep us posted on how this drama plays out.

Laurel1861 said...

The projects were due a day or so ago, so I should have the news sometime soon.

You are dead on the money for my predictions of what might happen, encouraging as the little conflagration was. I told Janette and Ian what I thought would happen, so they are not unprepared.

I will keep y'all up to date as soon as I hear back from the kids.

Laurel