While I've been teaching Current Events classes all summer (and what a summer of news events this has been!) I started back to my in-person teaching today at Logic Creative Labs. This semester, I'm teaching American Government & Politics, American Civil Rights Movements, and Current Events in Context. I also get to co-teach a cool class where we explore history, art, and culture from the perspective of aliens who've just landed on the planet.
American Government was the first class I taught, straight out of college, in my first public-school teaching job. Things seemed so much more simple then, in terms of navigating what the U.S. government is supposed to do, versus what actually happens. The last 6 years, and especially the last 6 months, have brought up as many questions as answers. However, I feel very strongly about providing high school students with a truthful analysis of America's strengths and weaknesses, and want to do that without having them walk away totally cynical. When I say that democracy is not a spectator sport, I mean it. If this "experiment" is going to work, we need young people (well, we need all people) to be involved. Democracy does not work with people on the sidelines. So, I walk a tightrope, hoping to encourage and inform but also trying to be honest about the fact that America is not easy. I am often reminded of my favorite movie, American President, and the speech that President Andrew Shepherd makes near the end of the movie.