What a productive day:

Attend parent-teacher conference … check.
Cover Algebra I class during plan time … check.
Teach good-natured freshman to isolate variables … check.
Listen to “Strange Fruit” six times … check.
Lead six class discussions about racially motivated violence … check.
Help with academic team practice … check.

I’m worn out after a whole day of listening to “Strange Fruit” over and over (for the record, its impact does NOT diminish if you listen to it six times in a row) and leading six separate discussions about an ugly, painful period in American history … but it’s a good kind of exhaustion, because I feel as if we got somewhere today.

Like the imaginary monsters that haunted the closets and dark spaces of my childhood, racism is a bully that lurks in the shadows but loses its power to frighten or harm when you drag it out of its hiding place and expose it to the light. Dragon slaying isn’t always easy, but it’s glorious to watch, and I’m proud of my kids. We’ve got some great swashbucklers in that bunch, and I expect one of these days, with their help, we’ll rid the world of that beast.



2 thoughts on “Checklist”

  1. Just curious, with what grade are discussing “racially motivated violence?” Saw a link to your site on a Route 66 site.

  2. Sophomores. We have a poem in our textbook about the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, and they are reading Tulsa Burning, about the 1921 race riots, as part of an enrichment program. I frequently use music lyrics to teach figurative language and sound devices, so “Strange Fruit” was a natural connection.

    It was not the most fun lesson I’ve ever taught, but it was one of the more important and valuable.

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