Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When I listen to NPR, I miss my classroom.

Today I realized just how steeped in history I must be when I heard on the news "Today is the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland" and I immediately thought "Oh, it must be September 1 today." My second thought was that I missed being in the classroom. It is the conversations, specifically, that I enjoy -- discussing the why of issues. Thanks to the new Quentin Tarantino movie, "Inglorious Bastards," and the seventieth anniversary of the start of WWII, this fall is a great time to discuss some of these issues on a deeper level. I was listening to an interview with a woman who wrote an editorial on the real Jewish commandos of WWII -- not the fairytale created by Tarantino, but actual people who fought heroically for their cause. In this interview, Kim Masters talks about her father as one of the commados. The reality of his story is so powerful, there is no need for embellishment, no need for bloodythirsty soldiers to scalp the enemy, because the truth of the daily fight was frighteningly real enough. Listening to the interview made me think about when it's okay to create a fairytale versus show something real, how we depict "the enemy" and what that says about us in turn, and what makes violence acceptable (in life or movies or books). As I've told countless students, there is not necessarily one right and one wrong answer to any of these questions. That is why it's so valuable to have conversations in small groups, respectfully looking at various perspectives. We learn to grow as individual human beings and as a community when we engage in friendly critical discourse.

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