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Clarity Clarity is offline
 
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Mock Slavery Auction in NY Elementary
Old 08-11-2020, 03:11 AM
 
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School. This is so difficult to believe - about 60 miles from where I live.

https://www.wwnytv.com/2020/08/10/st...tion-incident/

Love to hear what was in this teacher's mind.


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Old 08-11-2020, 04:29 AM
 
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It's pretty shocking that a teacher would think this was an appropriate way to introduce a unit on slavery. Maybe she was thinking that it would bring home to her students what an awful thing it was to be auctioned off as property. She was deliberately going for shock value to grab their interest. I can almost see it had she not used African American students to be the ones auctioned off and had she done it with an older group of kids. But I can't imagine how she thought this wouldn't be hurtful to the two black students and I sure can't imagine how she thought there wouldn't be a huge uproar about it.

I've often thought that, if Jane Elliot had done her famous "blue eyed/brown eyed" experiment today she'd lose her job.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:23 AM
 
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Itís hard to know what really happened. It might be one of those cases of what the student said, what the teacher said, and the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Either way, a mock slave auction isnít a good idea.
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What was she thinking?
Old 08-11-2020, 05:29 AM
 
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According to the article she was never questioned or asked to be questioned. If accurate, that is a problem. According to her lawyer's letter she retired after 36 years with an unblemished record. There could be more to the story.

If the story as told is true then the criticism is more than warranted.

Many years ago I received a letter from a parent about why I was teaching sex ed to my 3rd graders. I had no idea what the parent was talking about. After speaking to the parent I finally figured out that the child somehow misunderstood the story I shared with the class. The story was The Tale of the Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. We never did figure out how the child misconstrued the message but after speaking with the parent, the parent realized what she thought happened, didn't.

Come to think of it, the lesson of the Warm Fuzzies is even more relevant today than it ever has been in my lifetime.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:58 AM
 
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According to the article the teacher did not have a change to respond. That isn't right for reasons already mentioned.

Truthfully, I am not sure why it isn't okay to reenact historical events. That would be one way for kids to begin to understand some concepts and ideas. Now, I completely understand why in this situation choosing the only 2 black children in the classroom to be the slaves, but there are other ways this could be done.


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Rush to judgement...
Old 08-11-2020, 07:43 AM
 
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In these times, unfortunately we have to be so careful. I think her intentions were good, but choosing the two African American students she did was insensitive. And even if she didn't instruct the students role playing the slaves to call the others "master", I could see 4th graders taking it upon themselves to do something like that on the playground or in other places where the teacher could be unaware.

It is a shame that she was forced into retirement and had to endure the embarrassment of being put on administrative leave after a 36 year unblemished career. She should have been given the opportunity to speak up or have a representation. I taught in upstate NY for 12 years, and we had a union even in the small district I worked in. I know she has a lawyer, but I don't know why the union doesn't seem to be present here (unless the lawyer was provided by the union). There probably is more to the story than the newsclip has.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:00 AM
 
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A story of very poor judgement on both the districts part and the teacher. This is a lesson for all teachers really. In this day and age,most teachers are hung out to dry without a chance to speak up for themselves. I always paid union dues but did tell myself to get my own lawyer if trouble started. Teachers have to pad themselves well these days and extra lawyer in your pocket can pay off.
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Truthfully, I am not sure why it isn't okay to reenact historical events. That would be one way for kids to begin to understand some concepts and ideas. Now, I completely understand why in this situation choosing the only 2 black children in the classroom to be the slaves, but there are other ways this could be done.
I mean, I think of it like this: Would I reenact the Holocaust? The slave auctions are not much different.

The difficulty with teaching this history is that it can re-traumatize students. I had a young black student who would get emotional even looking at pictures of slaves -- she would start crying so hard I'd have her take a break. It made me really re-evaluate how we teach this kind of history. I think experiments like the blue/brown eyes are a little more palatable, because it's not simulating an actual, historical trauma.
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Old 08-11-2020, 10:45 AM
 
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Hereís a good podcast on why historical simulations arenít a good idea.

https://overcast.fm/+CcIeXNxo4
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Old 08-11-2020, 11:36 AM
 
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Horrible of that teacher!


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@kaluhablast
Old 08-15-2020, 07:38 PM
 
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"Truthfully, I am not sure why it isn't okay to reenact historical events."


That depends on the events.

We don't want to give the kids nightmares by having them reenact disturbing events consisting of torture, death, and destruction.

Nor do we want to accidentally teach them the wrong message regarding bigotry.
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Old 08-16-2020, 01:08 PM
 
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As a teacher, I understand what she was trying to do. Just as a teacher beginning a unit on pirates or explorers might think to re-enact a journey or a ship looting, this teacher probably figured it'd be a hard-hitting look into the past. Unfortunately it's a terrible idea, not even considering the current climate and recent events. At the very least, she should have consulted with the school or district for a second opinion.
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