A friend on Facebook asked if I had something to say about the new law in California that requires schools to include the contributions of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in social studies curriculum.
Yes, I have something to say.
I’m a teacher… OK, I’m a yet to be an employed teacher (2 credentials earned in 2 years), and I think this is absolutely NUTS!.
What exactly are they going to teach?
OK. I have no problem with giving him a mention. That was a somewhat landmark election.
That’s already taught in the Civil Rights curriculum and was included in the text book I was using while student teaching my social sciences classes.
Are we going to be required teach that Abraham Lincoln might have been gay, even though he almost certainly wasn’t??? This is usually based on the close relationship between Abe Lincoln and Joshua Seed. There IS a great lesson here. Lincoln and Joshua Seed is a wonderful example of the changing mores as populations expand geographically and as a result of very short life expectancy. There was no problem societally of males having and expressing a platonic love for each other that had nothing to do with sexuality. In that period, you were much more isolated than you are now and the opportunity to have close friendships was a rarity. Couple that with a very short life expectancy compared to today, you told your best friend how you truly felt, because you knew that he could be wiped out by yellow fever or an infection or a fatal fall from a horse at any time. There was no shame or sexual intent when telling your best friend that you loved him. It was simply a healthy sign of true friendship. And it’s not gay.
I get really ticked off at this kind of legislation by fiat! It’s stupid! Don’t get me wrong, I like including little details about people in history so that the kids might connect with the historical figure as a human and not just some guy mentioned in a book. And I wouldn’t mind throwing sexuality into the mix IF it served a purpose to illuminate the character of the subject at hand. I could for instance mention that Ben Franklin was his generations scientist rock star. And mention that he was flirtatious with the ladies, though, like Hamilton, his rep for being a player is extremely exaggerated. History is a one big fat soap opera… Tons of Drama. If used properly, that can be used to captive the students interest.
That said, WE ONLY HAVE “X” AMOUNT OF TIME TO COVER ANY ONE SUBJECT!!!
So, I wonder, what do they want to have us throw to the curb in order to cover this new curriculum????
I am SO sick of politicians and administrator, many of whom have never spent a day in a classroom trying to teach, interfering and constantly whittling down our choices / our ability to teach effectively. They don’t realize it, but they invariably end up hampering any creative freedom that each of us as individual teachers, with individual experiences, brings to our jobs. They have reduced teaching to an assembly line process, and the result of this show loud and clear in the ranking of our state education system.
By the way, did I forget to mention…. I’m Gay?