Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

It figures that my first day back in the saddle....back to teaching everything after a blissful two weeks of not having to prepare or plan or copy anything... well, it just figures that I'd have the kind of day where 1) I was in school on a day where the rest of the world had the day off 2) I lost my special so we could celebrate that day and 3) I'd end the day with a team meeting for one of my students. Nothing like being thrown right back into that fire!

All that aside, today we did observe Veteran's Day in my school. And by observe I mean gather together to sing a bunch of patriotic songs with a few Veterans present. We talked a little bit about the day, and the history of it, but most of the assebly was taken up with singing and introducing the Veterans.

This is one of those days where somehow it became our job as educators to teach our students about the value and the history of this day, but none of us really know how to. Is that horrible? These students I have now..... war is, in one sense, in their vocabulary every single day. Many of them were just toddlers on 9/11 so the Iraq war is all they've ever known, yet they really don't know about the Iraq war. They don't really know about war at all. Even though they are growing up practicing lock down drills right along with fire drills, it doesn't touch their lives in any real way. Which, of course, is a good thing. I can remember being in school, reading about World War II and thinking "My God, my grandfathers fought in that." Same for Vietnam and my father. Knowing loved ones that have lived through what you were reading about in the pages of your history book....well, that made things real in a way nothing else ever was.

I guess I'm not really sure where I'm going with this post.....I certainly don't want my students to know the horrors of war. Nor do I want them to have to live in a world where war is happening, or will happen....but as I sat in that auditorium today, singing Yankee Doodle Dandy, I couldn't help but wonder what the students were actually learning about Veteran's Day. And I couldn't help but think that this is one of those days where I'm failing as an educator. I don't think I taught my students about service, or sacrifice....about loving your country enough that you travel halfway around the world to defend what it stands for....I don't think I taught my students about patriotism. How do you teach a value or a belief system to eight year olds?


Tina said...

You have lockdown drills?

I'm tired, but what does "I lost my special so we could celebrate that day" mean?

Tina said...

Dude! I just saw the NaBoPlo-whatever icon on your sidebar and then realized you've been posting every day! Nice going!