I have (mostly) stopped reading or listening to the news lately, which doesn’t mean I’m uninformed.
I (mostly) know what’s going on in the world. There are (mostly) no surprises. History does repeat itself. It is just showing up differently of late.
Jaded, you say? Well, yes and, no.
What’s happening now, around the world, didn’t just happen since Trump. What’s happening has been slowly building up for decades. The control – read: power – of the media and corporations, including some governments, has created the momentous events we’re currently witnessing around the world.
Disinformation, outright lies, half truths. That is the stuff that the media is made of, and not just social media.
So, I fall back to studying and understanding history. To unraveling how coverups and deceit by people in power got us to where we are today. Because there is (very little) investigative journalism happening tight now, like the kind that happened in the ‘80’s. So, ordinary citizens have to dig to find the facts. And, who has the time, energy and resources to do that? The harsh reality is that very few of us do. Most people are concerned with getting food on the table.
So, we are constantly duped into believing what the media outlets, (mostly) owned by special interest groups and corporations, want us to know. It’s not (mostly) Fox News, by the way.
Again: Jaded? Well, yes.
Which (finally) brings me to how our students may be taking in what they hear at home about all kinds of controversial and highly emotional events occurring in the world.
How can we address these volatile world events in the classroom?
While there have been many books, articles and blogs written about how to teach or talk about tough topics, I find myself at a loss to do that well in 2022. The camps are tightly drawn and arguments are loosely taped together with lots of gaps, lies and doctored images to create a makeshift collage that can be dismantled to suit anyone’s (un)reality.
This is the first time in my teaching career, really the last two years, that I (sometimes) hesitate to talk about what’s happening in the news with my students. Even though this generation is far more aware of the world, (some) may be less informed, than previous generations.
So, I listen to what they say and let them express their concerns. I try to fill in the gaps, if I can, because there is so much I don’t know either and will need to investigate.
At the same time, and this may contradict what I’ve said here, I have faith and trust in this generation. There have been instances of kids, alone or as part of a movement, who’ve risen up and said: “No more. These are the facts. These are the truths. This is what we can do to make the world a better place”.
Unfortunately, (many) adults refuse to listen.
My pessimism, if it is that, may have to do with the fact that I currently live in a province led by a party that wants nothing more than to become a part of the US.
Cynical, you ask? Well, yes.
Nevertheless, I look for pockets of bravery. Of hope. Of youth standing up for what’s right. Of truth among the brambles. Of sanity in a huge sea of insanity. I push through my feelings of being jaded, cynical, tired even, and realize that I am allowed moments of escape in order to return refreshed.
I guess this blog post was my moment of escape. Now, I can return to my students with a renewed sense of purpose and direction.
If you read this far, thank you for indulging these wandering thoughts and for being there for your students in these (sometimes) unprecedented moments in history.
Peace is Justice. Justice is Peace.
Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge.