What’s going on?! A brief run-down of the last few weeks

Photo by Nikolas Wall

It’s not what it looks like. Photo by Nikolas Wall

It’s been kind of a long week. Or two, actually. It started for me last week, with the non-indictment in Ferguson. While not entirely surprised, I was, and continue to be, pretty broken-hearted about the situation. As I shared with my students, to watch images of protesting and anger and to know that so many people don’t feel safe in this country, protected by the police, or served by its government, makes me incredibly sad. That the experience of life (and justice) in this nation for blacks is so different from my own experience isn’t news to me, but last week’s events were a stinging reminder.

The non-indictment led to a heartfelt and thoughtful discussion in my first period class the next day. School teachers (and maybe journalists) are the only people I know who have to read about the news and formulate a response and a way to discuss it with thirty teenagers before 7:30 that morning. Our talk was good, heartfelt and honest, but given the subject matter it was not particularly happy.

What was happy, though, was my 3rd period World Religions class and the moment you see captured above. I mentioned this in my last post, but Reverend WonGong So came to visit our class and delivered an awesome presentation on Won Buddhism. The best part, though, was when she got 36 kids to stand up and led them through walking and moving meditations. My favorite times teaching are when you can get students to completely abandon their teenage self-consciousness and fully embrace a goofy learning moment. (And you can see that they did! They were doing arm circles in that picture, not heiling Hitler, which unfortunately it kind of looks like).

Fortunately, last Tuesday was followed by a relaxed and wonderful visit home with family. Coming back this week to little annoyances (unruly kids, progress reports), and more examples of the troubling state of race relations in our country (the Eric Garner non-indictment and the story about Lennon Lacy in Bladenboro, NC) have been a bit of a let down, but hopefully there are some good things coming up. Next week, World Religions goes to the Sikh gurdwara, and I think we’re making progress in APUSH. I’ve got some projects in the work for the blog, as well. Stay tuned, and thanks for putting up with my emotions this week!

Question, because I am curious: How have you dealt with the Brown and the Garner cases in your classrooms?