The elephant in the room has gotten too real. Yesterday morning I rewrote my ENGL 1101 lesson plans. The last 20-25 minutes in each of my three classes would be left open for discussion – REAL discussion, you know, the kind that involves messy politics and the things that are actually on our minds.
So I sat in front of the class and jumped right in, “What’s going on in our country?”
A few students volunteered to offer context, beginning with Kaepernick. Then, we explored the “physical” rhetoric behind standing vs. kneeling and how no two people will view the same action or symbol in the same way. And, yes, eventually we did discuss Trump tweets.
Overall, the exchange was powerful – to sit and be forced to listen to other perspectives. And, the thing is, they survived…we all did. Rich dialogue, even if only for a few minutes, flourished.
It was this weird, healthy, awkward moment that we all seemed to need.
I’d be lying if I said every student enjoyed it. But isn’t that human?
I believe the listening, the sharing, and the silence make us better. They remind us that we aren’t alone and that we still have room to grow.
And, sometimes, there is simply peace in knowing that none of us has all the answers.
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