Long ago in MY country…

<< BEFORE: Rabbit watches crowd at bus station

I’m not so sure this fits into the overall book project, but here it is — one particular November 2011 English class scene I’ve been thinking of on Martin Luther King Day 2012. It’s not my proudest moment as a teacher, but I guess that’s part of the adventure. Sometimes you don’t really know where these conversations are going.
..:

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NEXT: Keep reading to find out what happens at snack break! >>

P.S. Here is a video featuring “the song” and some photos from the lunch counter movement:

6 thoughts on “Long ago in MY country…

  1. Bravo! You didn’t fail as a teacher to not say something about their society. You were trusting your intuition that it wasn’t the time and place. You presented an intriguing view of race relations in another country and culture and resisted the temptations to draw the conclusions for them. That’s what a teacher does…leads them to think in different ways. They’ll all reconcile this information with their own experience and in different ways relate it to their lives, some more quickly then others but they will probably never forget what you showed them in such a dynamic way. Sometimes less is more.

    • Yes, I see what you mean. After I drew it out, it made more sense to me that way. I wanted to portray that moment of sensing a border and wanting to cross it, but not knowing how, and anyways perhaps having already crossed it…

  2. Wow, this is great, and I can relate to the situation. I often find myself biting my tongue when the Roma issue comes up, only to feel conflicted afterwards about not saying anything. It’s definitely a touchy subject. For people from the US, the parallels are easy to see, but the prejudices are so deeply ingrained here that it’s tough to have a rational discussion about it. But you approached it in a tactful and subtle way, and if just one of your students makes even the vaguest connection, that’s obviously a good thing.

    • Thanks Jeff —

      Yes, I’m in favor of less tongue-biting all around, and just for the record I am always grateful to get the views of foreigners regarding our own much-less-than-perfect social & political systems & history in my home country. (It’s always a lot easier to see the deeply-ingrained prejudices in OTHER cultures.) Speak out! (Or, as I found useful, just ask lots of basic questions.) You are an observer with fresh eyes! That’s a valuable perspective!
      Anyway, I think this piece is more about that fine distinction we dance around (or imagine?) in education between leading (guiding) & following (enabling).

      — M

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