LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

You Spoke, We Listened

Our latest magazine issue, TT workshops and social media news stories have inspired a lot of dialogue with our readers.

Colorado Teacher Walkout | Photo by Hayley Breden
Photograph by Hayley Breden

Reader Reactions

We heard from veteran and pre-service educators alike about “Why We Walked: A Letter to Our Future Educators.” 

The job of all involved in public education is to deliver the highest quality education ... in the best manner for students and teachers alike. When administrators put up roadblocks ... members of the profession must find a way to let the administrators and the public understand the problem.

—Deb Hartogensis Godden via Facebook

I am currently in a field placement with a middle school English teacher and together, we participated in the walkout in Denver last week. It was inspiring to see how many teachers love their students enough to stand up for them that way! I can’t wait to be a teacher!

—Shana Faulkner via Facebook

Stellar Tweet

I attended a Social Justice Teaching 101 Workshop. ... It was awe-inspiring to be in the presence of such passionate and dedicated educators.

—Monica @MissDalmia

Letters

TT WORKSHOPS

The wonderful facilitators of [the TT] workshops ... gave us words to use, connections that strengthen us, and the promise that this work is uncomfortable, but so very worth it. Now that I have the language, the words (power), I am an agent of change.

—Missy McClure, via email

Editor’s note: We offer two workshops—Social Justice Teaching 101 and Facilitating Critical Conversations. Check to see if we’re coming to a city near you.

“BECKY” IS RACIST

[On “Is There a #BBQBecky or #PermitPatty in Your Classroom?”] If teaching tolerance how about not using racist terms. Becky when used to describe white women is racist. Imagine if you turned it around and referred to Black women by a supposedly common name among the race.

—Gary Rothstein, via Facebook

 

TEACHING HARD HISTORY PODCAST

I just listened to the first episode and it was extremely well-done and informative. I teach 8th grade and just this episode includes several tips for teaching the material in class. Every teacher of U.S. history should listen to this! ... I’m looking forward to continuing to refresh my own knowledge so that I can more effectively teach about slavery in my classes. Thank you for this important podcast!

—MolW, via iTunes

Editor’s note: Listen to the Teaching Hard History podcast here.

AN OUTRAGE

Many thanks for the information on the newest documentary “An Outrage.” I have viewed this with both Seniors in my government class and students in my U.S. History survey class at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. All were moved by the message and purpose of the documentary.

—Ed Roeder, via email

 

HARD HISTORY ISN’T HARD ENOUGH

You can’t teach slavery without teaching its cruelty. The materials you provide give you more than enough information to make this a part of your framework, but you don’t go there. That is the problem with teaching slavery.

There were over seven generations of unthinkable cruelty perpetrated upon black people in this country, separation of families, women raised to be sex tools, men forbidden to love or made to see love as a weapon, people denied knowledge or the generation of knowledge, people raised to believe themselves inferior and to believe this was how god meant things to be. When you speak of slaves joining the British army, first tell what they were running from.

—Anonymous, via email

 

WHAT THE NUMBERS DON’T SHOW

Thank you for the very thoughtful and uplifting article that counters the narrative of two of our nation’s favorite punching bags, Detroit and public education. I hope realistic depictions like these continue, instead of the caricatures we unfortunately see so often. As a former Detroit public student, I was so happy to read this.

—Lara, via online comment

 

DIÁ DE LOS MUERTOS

Loved the article, but have one suggestion to make. You mention Día de los Muertos is celebrated in “Mexico and Central and South America”; but then state only that Aztec rituals combined with Catholicism to create what is celebrated today. That is true, but for the country of Mexico. Indigenous cultures throughout the Americas had their way of honoring death, so in places like Central America Mayan rituals combined with Catholicism; likewise in Peru, it was Incan rituals. It’s an important detail to include because it shows that we in the Americas are not a monolithic block, but diverse cultures.

—Manuita, via online comment

 

TT is a crucial resource for all educators if they wish to reach and teach all students in a manner that values their identity, examine real issues facing our nation and children, and think critically their role in this world. In addition to the publication and subscription to email updates, I recommend Teaching Hard History and the Social Justice Standards. Teaching the Movement is also excellent!

—Scott Thomas, via Facebook

Tell Us What You Think!

Have an opinion about something you see in Teaching Tolerance magazine or on our website? Contact us by email or mail a letter to 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104.