Saturday, September 3, 2011

Never Forget

I have agonized over this blog for quite some time.  Should I keep it, or get rid of it?  I was never real sure what I wanted to do with it or if I had time for it.  Every now and then something hits me and I have to go with it.  I asked myself what would be one thing I would tell my students.  It would have to be this message, "Write What You Are Passionate About".   Why?  They are always asking me why I wrote "Steps to Courage".

After 9/11 I was passionate about letting future generations of students know what it was like on that day.  As we have new generations of students who were not yet born then it becomes more important that we not only tell the events of that day, but share our knowledge of the causes.  We need to teach our children tolerance.  It is the lack of tolerance that led to this event.

I remember for the one year anniversary of 9/11 I had my middle school students write an essay about how they saw people showing compassion through adversity in the year that followed that tragic day.  I asked them not to look at the obvious, those who worked at ground zero.  I asked them to look in their neighborhoods, at school, and church and see how they and other's showed compassion.  It was important that we start it off with a discussion of how we had become a nation that had trust issues.  It was important to put into perspective how hate crimes begin and grow.  I was amazed at how my students responded.  I was amazed at how they looked at their fellow classmates and wrote about ways they saw them showing compassion.

I could not get the looks on my student's faces out of my mind after 9/11.  I could not forget Alyssa running down the hall screaming my name and begging me to turn the TV on because she had heard a plane had hit the Twin Towers.  I will never forget the questions asked and the discussion in class as we repeatedly watched the news footage of the attacks in Washington, DC and New York City and finally the plane in Pennsylvania.  My students put on a brave front trying to one up each other on what they would do if they were in the Twin Towers.  The topic became such a burning issue that it became a passion I had to research and write about.

It is important that I teach my new sixth graders, many who were not even born, about this day in our history. As a school that promotes cultural awareness it is important that we teach tolerance right in our classroom.  There are so many lessons to be learned from the 9/11 events.  How will you teach them?  What is your passion?

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