Teaching History In Proper Perspective

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” (George Orwell)

Ms. Gloria, as a recently hired teacher at Lovelawn High School savored her first opportunity to make American History truthful and relevant to the struggling lives of her South Side Chicago students. So when she got the message at the beginning of the school year from the school principal that she needed to introduce a new Social Studies teaching curriculum for her 11th grade classes, understandably she became quite concerned. For this idealistic instructor would now be required to follow an executive order from the President of the United States that strict adherence to his “Make America Great Again” message should now be the primary emphasis of teaching pedagogy for all s social studies teachers in U.S. primary and secondary schools As a result, she would be advised to modify her yearly curriculum to “spin” more positive views of past American conflicts of race, ethnicity, gender, and religion.

So Ms. Gloria wondered at first about how to modify her lesson plans accordingly. But how could she teach her upcoming Civil War unit without including the damaging effects of the southern slave culture in 1861-1865? Or when it became time to present American involvement in other controversial events of interest, what sense would it have made to downplay the human tragedies experienced at the Cherokee Trail of Tears, Hiroshima nuclear bomb blast or the Vietnam Mai Lai massacre?

In addition, Ms. Gloria fearfully pondered the prospect that such radical alterations to her history curriculum would most likely lead to classroom management chaos in the classroom. What could she do to pacify those students who wanted her to present relevant material about African slavery as a result of the “Black Lives Matter” protests in their neighborhoods? How might they react when their music videos and social media postings could now be censored in the classroom? To what extent as well could she ignore teaching alleged white racist incidents of the past when the President’s angry personality escalated such interpersonal tensions daily? How physically and emotionally capable would she be to stop multiracial melees inside her classroom when she sold out her curriculum” to the “white establishment” world?

So as the year progressed, Ms. Gloria would find great difficulty in compromising her teaching methods for the sake of this false masquerade of Presidential propaganda. It would therefore be no surprise that she would begin receiving daily reminders on the intercom from her principal to shape up and teach American History more as ordered in the “Great America” way. So as her self-respect as a teacher thus gradually began to wane, she would begin thinking of resignation in order to find a more positive line of work.

One spring day as afternoon classes ended, a shooting took place on school grounds. Ms. Gloria soon heard that one of her best students, Ramon, had been been seriously injured by a stray bullet after mistakingly walking into the crossfire of a white vs. black gang fight. As her anger about this racially fueled incident grew, while Ramon was fighting for his life in a local hospital, Ms. Gloria would now make a logical decision to move forward in pursuing a career change in the immediate future. For she would realize the futility of continuing to teach in an educational system that “sugarcoated” past events in history to falsely depict life as easier than it really was.

Ms. Gloria’s resignation from teaching at the end of the school year consequently could only be expected. Her passion for providing relevant and truthful solutions to her students lives as a history teacher would now benefit her greatly as she worked “double time” on her own to develop a popular podcast titled “Gloria’s Good Old Glory”. As the marketing appeal of her podcast audience exploded within a year, she would follow this accomplishment with a successful, “grass roots” run for State Representative in the U.S. Congress. Living her life now without past regret, Gloria’s luck had finally improved in her own way. 

Would you  like to know more about how one’s dedication to the study of history might lead us to find a more fulfilling life? If so, then click on the You Tube video link below to find out.

6 thoughts on “Teaching History In Proper Perspective

    • Hi Bette: We are starting another road trip to Colorado next week. Maine still has too many restrictions in entering the state because of Corona. Next spring a visit there maybe will work.

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  1. American greatness while nice to believe must be set in the context of truth and factual understanding. The teacher in this story was ostracized wrongly in pursuing that standard.

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