What History Taught Us

| St. Petersburg, FL, USA | Learning | September 29, 2015

(It is September 11, 2001, and our principal, at a very conservative private school, has just held an assembly to tell us what has just happened in New York. This is at the end.)

Principal: “…I don’t want anyone asking their teachers to turn on the news. We have made a decision to keep the TVs off today.”

(We go about our day in a state of shock. Most of the teachers don’t even bother teaching anything, and let us read or talk while they look for news updates online, as they can’t turn on the TV. They won’t tell us what’s going on, and yell at anyone who asks. We get to our last class of the day, which is history. We are very surprised to walk into class and find that our history teacher has his TV on and tuned to the local news.)

Me: “Wow, he’s going to let us watch?”

Classmate #1: “Uh, Mr. [Teacher]? I thought we weren’t supposed to watch the news.”

History Teacher: “Technically, no, we aren’t. I know what Dr. [Principal] said this morning. But this is YOUR history unfolding today. We can’t ignore it just because it’s not pretty. So yes, we are going to watch the news today.”

(I’m pretty sure he got in trouble for doing that. But I’m glad he took that risk. A classroom of rowdy middle-schoolers grew up that day. Thank you, Mr. W.)

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