I have a confession.
I have been a teacher for about a decade and a half. Recently, I’ve been exposed for the manipulative idealogue that I am. I’ve spent countless hours of my life after school providing feedback on students’ work, hoping they’ll learn to hate America like I do. I work tirelessly to design lessons that will indoctrinate children with socialist views. I have lost sleep on school nights thinking about how to best push my and the district’s political agenda. I have invested my time and money on books and other resources used solely for the purpose of corrupting children into discriminating against white people. The saddest part? It seems there are people today who really believe this.
I understand that we live in an extremely politicized time, but I ask you to not read this as a Democratic or Republican letter, but rather as a neighbor simply asking a favor. Please don’t use me and my colleagues as pawns in the ugly discourse of the day. We work tirelessly not to persuade minds, but rather equip them with the tools necessary for evaluating information, forming their own opinions, testing out their ideas, reflecting on their learning, and communicating their understanding. We consistently challenge ourselves to figure out how to most effectively support every child’s development. I take very seriously my role as an objective participant in the education of our community’s adolescents.
I worry that society’s habit of turning everything into antagonistic controversy lately is going to discourage difficult conversations in our schools. As we seem increasingly incapable of productive and civil dialogue, our discourse further polarizes viewpoints and rather than using conversation as a tool for solutions, we attempt to defeat instead of understand dissent.
As a history teacher in District 112, I recognize that my subject matter is irrelevant unless I can help students appreciate why it matters today. If we’re too afraid to talk about what might lead to disagreement, what’s the point of my curriculum?
You’re allowed to disagree with teachers and administrators. We often disagree with each other. I simply ask that you not vilify us and our life’s work. When feeling discouraged by adult discourse, I often remind myself to feel encouraged by our next generation. My students are able to disagree without disrespect. Are we?
Obviously, I can’t speak for every teacher, school, and district, nor can our politicians. However, if you are genuinely concerned about how our schools educate our youth, feel free to reach out to me. I would be more than happy to hear you and/or share my experiences as an educator.