If you keep up with current events; as we do each week in classes at the high school, you are well-versed in the substantial amount of coverage given to the idea of victimhood. Students point out (astutely) that it seems like everyone is a victim these days: implicit racism, electoral misogyny, cultural appropriation, and a host of other trends that capture the young learner’s attention.
Consideration is a hot topic these days with Supreme Court nominations and legislation being bandied about to help everything from health care to the economy. It’s a favorite verb of the average politician who is elected to vote as a representative of their district. A representative government was a hot topic in classes this past week as students discussed everything from Neil Gorsuch to Obamacare.
I grew up playing hockey in the winter and thought the entire world spent their time around an ice sheet during the cold winter months. But, a couple of years ago, my son decided he was going to try wrestling so we traded in the chilly stands of the ice rink for the milder bleachers in gymnasiums with wrestling mat covered floors.
If you’ve ever had children in sports or been around youngsters who play sports, you've likely noticed the increasing nature of our most influential segments of society getting “SMAKED,” and it is becoming a national concern.
We’re living in trying times and guiding students through Plato’s Dialogue can be a complicated endeavor but one that is worth it, especially as people find themselves in an increasingly caustic culture. Plato’s extended analogy of the Cave, the Sun and the Dividing Line breaks down eventually, but the contrast between ignorance and enlightenment is stark, and worth considering.
Every news story about politics these days (other than factual reporting of something that actually happened) should come with the above disclaimer. The line between fact and opinion journalism has been blurring steadily toward partisanship and students get caught up in the quagmire of opinions that are being presented as facts. For years we have had to put up with grandiose speeches that sounded terrific but had no substance and the result is that now we have substantial things being said in a less than grandiose manner.
If you’re like me, you have a tough choice to make regarding the mayoral and city council races in April. A host of quality candidates for the council and mayoral positions means, hopefully, that residents will get a wide array of ideas for improving our town. I’ve been a fan of city council this past term and think that they have made sound decisions based on the realities of our circumstances under the pesky, micromanagement of state and federal officials. Too often local control ends up being reaction to laws, regulations and policies that are mandated upon localities.
Definitions run the gamut but this is the week that we celebrate love with flowers, chocolate, cards, favors and functions. For what do we have if love isn’t the cornerstone of how we live our lives? Unfortunately, love has become a word with many definitions, usually lived out as we individually see fit. Maybe those who have gone before us have some insight on one of the most powerful, and explosive words that we tend to throw around like candy.
Students reading through Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” are confused about his jail time for not having a parade permit. How times have changed, is my real and honest explanation. Teachers extol the virtues of researching issues, being informed and settling differences peacefully through discussion and debate and I am constantly reminding students that, “just because you listen, doesn’t automatically mean that you agree.”
Each week begins with students listing events and news from the past week that is worth discussing in class. Student-driven news and event selection might be a little frightening for some teachers, especially with teenagers, but solid parameters make the process very dependable and enlightening. Students are interested in the world around them and are very engaged, but it’s the depth of their engagement that requires a teacher’s touch.