It’s good that students want to talk about the relationship between current events and what they’ve learned in history classes (“The Need to Teach the History Behind Current Events Has Rarely Been Clearer. Here’s How Some Teachers Are Getting Ready,” Time, July 14). But this sudden interest comes with certain caveats that teachers need to be aware of.
Most important, teachers need to present a balanced view. But anything they say that does not reinforce the pre-existing views of students is bound to get them into trouble. Today’s current events are by their very nature highly controversial. As a result, teachers have to walk a tightrope. I doubt that principals will back teachers up if enough parents complain.
I remember vividly what happened in history classes during the Vietnam War. Students were eager to discuss our involvement. But teachers who expressed opinions that ran counter to what most students felt soon were the subject of criticism. I submit that the same thing will happen now when the subject is racism.
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