Successful teachers want to engage students. The term I’ve learned is “foster their learning environment” so students can become active in society. We encourage them to become advocates of the world.
But, what about us? Teachers advocate for students, and there are some things professional teachers must decide to keep their opinions to themselves, so they don’t risk losing their job.
My master’s program and career in education have taught me to take confidence in advocating for certain issues. Those of you who have read my blog know that poverty, job loss, and breastfeeding are a few of those. But, what about that flag in my home state of South Carolina?
I grew up in a privileged household, and Dad kept pictures of generals who had fought for the Confederacy. In the artwork, a torn Confederate flag hung. I didn’t pay much attention to it them. I mean, I knew I had some great great uncles who fought for the Confederacy, but I am also a descendant of those who fought for the Union from New Hampshire.
As a History major, I learned the flag was a battle flag meant to unite the soldiers who fought for Robert E. Lee, and it stood then as the symbol of a common heritage of those with Scots-Irish ancestors in Northern Virginia. But, the flag came to mean many different things to different people throughout the South.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in teaching is to listen to others whose opinions are different from yours. Never once did I have a feeling one way or the other about the flag, but then again I did not deal with bigotry and hate caused by the flag because I am white.
The flag, to many people with whom I was acquainted, symbolized division and hate. That flag didn’t stand for my personal feelings about the state, and it most definitely did not stand for my friends.
Listen. Look around. We now live in an exciting time in which there are so many different people from places all over the world and with various ancestries.
The tragic part in it all was that one killer did not see the world that way. It cost nine precious, beautiful lives. Those were lives that still had a lot to offer, and it should not have taken their lives for that flag to come down.
It’s time for that flag to come down. A flag, that not matter how one debates its history, is a recognized symbol of division and not diversity.
My grandmother once said during segregation her Sunday school teacher would sing “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” She said she wondered, as a child, why if Jesus loved all the children of the world that black and white children did not go to church together.
Let’s go to church together.
Let’s hold hands together.
Courtesy of Nikkolas Smith