Saturday, March 12, 2016

Learning From Others

The best thing about being a teacher is when I realized I didn't have to know everything. That happened fairly quickly in my later-in-life teaching career. I was then open to bringing in various guests who were experienced and even experts in different fields.

When the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, died, I wanted my students to understand the importance of the Supreme Court. I started reading, studying the best I could, but again fairly quickly I realized a few days of reading was nothing compared to a JD and a law career. We had two scholars well versed in constitutional law who brought a new vision and new ways of thinking to our classroom. It was invigorating.

When we finished our book that focused on the plight of refugees during WWII, we had a guest who works with refugee high school students, most who are just off the boat--literally and figuratively.
He speaks Arabic, had lived in Middle East, and his current college major is Middle Eastern studies. He loves the people, the culture and the religion, yet, he couldn't dismiss the violent tendencies of some factions fueled by religious justification and fervor. The young man needed divine intervention to help him overcome the hatred he felt for the evil that infiltrated the lives of so many people--worldwide. As a teacher who respects and agrees with the separation of church and state, I cannot share spiritual experiences, but my guest could, and his sharing of spending a night in prayer asking for charity, was humbling and reverent--in front of 90 high school seniors.

He shared personal stories of his students and showed drone footage of a destroyed city in Syria. "This is why they must leave, this is why they are refugees."

At the end of March, we will have another guest with experiences I could never come close to replicating. My neighbor, my friend, a one time professional wrestler "The Terrible Turk," also lived as a young boy during the WWII occupation of France. He's coming to share those memories and especially the memory of the time when he was almost drafted by La Resistance!

How wonderful it is to know how little I know!