Dear History Teacher,
You’re not wrong. You have an extremely valid point there, I’m just more so surprised that you were able to say that to a class of 30 kids and not even skip a beat when saying it. And I’m not surprised we all collectively laughed because, well it was funny. Not like warm, happy funny, but the kind of funny where you know its true and you can’t help but laugh at how no one has told the joke yet. An elephant in the room, for example.
“I’m not sure if you know this, but America has a bit of a race problem.”
Leaning over your podium with a knowing look, scanning the room to gage our reactions as you said it, you knew you had made a risky move. Talking about race outside of the assigned history curriculum? Bold. Making a subtle jab at modern America’s race issue? Bolder. But you knew you had nothing to worry about because we all laughed anyway, quickly blowing air out of our noses as a half laugh. The joke wasn’t funny necessarily. It was more painfully accurate than funny.
Kuddos to you, honestly. As a teacher you must feel trapped within the confinements of Baltimore County’s neutral take on world history. While I’m sure there are ideals you agree with while teaching like “slavery is wrong,” or “Hitler was a monster,”, I wonder if there are times where you just can’t help yourself from shining your take on history through the mundane curriculum. Like, are there times where you literally cannot help yourself from saying your own personal beliefs or views in class? How do you manage to stay impartial on debatable topics every day? Well apparently, not every day, as you just pulled back the veil on America.
I appreciate you recognizing the power you have here as a teacher and using it to shed light on something most people try to keep in the dark. For some of us, you are the only source of historical information that we will spend time learning from as young adults, which is a terrifying thought alone. You are shaping the minds of future America, and I thank you for not ignoring part of the narrative, even if its uncomfortable to talk about.
Sincerely, Lily Davison
Lily Davison | ’19