What I Do When My Students Praise Hitler

Teachers aren’t supposed to be political, but we have to be.

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Photo by Jenni Jones on Unsplash

Some people might say I exceeded my authority

These days, teachers aren’t supposed to correct students. We’re supposed to encourage them. We’re supposed to value all ideas equally. We’re not supposed to silence those who express views we disagree with.

Teachers are supposed to be apolitical

It’s hard to reconcile my job with my job. Everyone gets riled up about teachers promoting a certain “political view” in their classrooms. Lawmakers are always looking for ways to punish universities for advancing causes they see as dangerous or subversive.

The blind spots of critical thinking

Teachers have developed workarounds for these kinds of problems. Maybe we can’t advocate for certain political stances. But we can encourage critical thinking and information literacy.

Meet my anti-vaxxers

Some people would have me fired for even mentioning feminism in my class. But would all of those same people fire me for also talking about vaccines? Every semester now, one of my students wants to write about the anti-vaccine movement. They’ve watched a documentary or two. Now they believe they’ve stumbled onto a global conspiracy.

F.O.B. Papers

Sometimes, I have to give students passing grades for writing about views I find repugnant. Every so often, I have to give them an A.

Written by

She’s the funny one. jessica.wildfire.writer@gmail.com

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