Remembering Today

911memorial

One of the things that I struggle with is the appropriate way to honor September 11th in my classroom.  The tragic events of that day have very personal meanings to me and all Americans.  We are not used to experiencing the terror of an attack of that magnitude.  Because it is so subjective and emotionally hard-hitting, it’s important to address is in the right manner.

There are two reasons why I tread lightly when approaching the events of September 11, 2001:

1.  My students were born in 1997 and 1998, making the events almost disconnected from them.  Events that happened a few years after my own birth seem as antiquated  as the the Vietnam  or Korean War; they’re events that I know about because they were taught in my history classes.  How can I approach 9/11 so that it doesn’t seem like any other event that students are told about?

2.  Many of my students have personally witnessed tragedies, warfare, and uncertainty that rivals or surpasses 9/11.  I have students who came from war-torn areas like Syria, Iran, and Bosnia.  How do we talked about 9/11 while still showing respect to the toils that others have gone through?

My approach on sensitive issues is to allow students to express themselves.  But I am able to comfortably talk about these issues because of the lengths that I go to model and implement an atmosphere of respect between my students and their peers.  When we talked about the shootings at Sandy Hook, I opened the floor to comments and conversation; the same after the Boston Marathon bombing.

I will update after today’s classes are over.

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