Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering the Bittersweet

My emotions are very close to the surface on this eve of 9/11. I bet everyone reading this post can tell me where they were and what they were doing the moment they first heard.
            My kids had missed the bus, so I drove them to school. The news report pummeled into me from the radio just as my kindergartener closed the door on my minivan.  Denial was my mindset as I drove home, listening. There had to be a mistake. The reporter must have gotten confused. Tragedies like these didn’t happen on American soil—they just didn’t.
            Every day teachers follow a curriculum, doing the best they can to educate our children. We trust them and place a large amount of faith in their efforts. One high school history teacher and fellow marathon runner, Paula Hamilton, takes this trust very seriously. Her words, written in a post on Facebook, encompass the theme of my blog so perfectly, I had to share (with her permission, of course.) Here is her post, exactly as she wrote it:

“It's time for me to prepare myself to teach 9/11 again - a difficult and horrible task which I must force myself to do every year! Why? Because hardly anyone else is doing it! It closed the stock market longer than any event since the GD, it stopped TV coverage longer than even the Kennedy Assassination, yet it is the least taught history in our schools! My 11th graders know NOTHING about it. It's not a mandate in my curriculum. It comes in the last chapter of my text, which few teachers ever get to. Why don't they care about it? Don't they know history repeats itself? The other teachers will be starting a unit on Industrialization on Tuesday! I will stop and painfully and compassionately share the sad facts and truths about 9/11, as I will on the anniversaries on the JFK and Pearl Harbor, while others are faithfully following the state curriculum. But at least MY students will know what made my parents and grandparents and me stop in our tracks and cry for days on end!”

            Eleven years ago as I watched the happenings of those horrific events unfold, I had no idea how the days following 9/11 would play out or the myriad of emotions I’d experience. But from the ashes of this great tragedy, America woke up and discovered she was still good, brave, and strong. This is the sweet I took away from the bittersweet events of 9/11. The sweet I never want to forget—the sweet I need to teach my children.
            Thanks, Paula, for being an extraordinary teacher and inspirational runner. She is a English/History teacher for Jurupa Unified School District. To date, she has completed 27 marathons and has many more on her calendar.

No comments:

Post a Comment