The middle school called for an assignment Friday. Unlike the usual recognizable assignments like Math, Science, PE and (shudder) SPEC-ED this one was for a subject called “Quest”. I accepted it and immediately called the school secretary to ask what this assignment is. If it was going to be a repeat of last week's experience, I could always go back, “decline” it and throw it back in the job assignment pool.
I asked: “Knowing how my day went with that last week's SPEC-ED class, would you think this something I would go for if I knew what it was?”
She assured me that it’s a regular class that covers something vaguely called “life skills dealing with the real world”. It still sounded a bit suspicious but she said it would be “ok”.
My “quest” assignment was to have the students watch the video documentary titled “The Children's March” about the young people of Birmingham, Alabama that braved the fire hoses and police dogs in 1963 that brought about the end of institutionalized segregation in the U.S.
During the first period viewing of the video, I was impressed that the actual video footage included the uncensored rough language that would normally be cleaned up by the censor “bleep” button. Hearing the “n-word” used in a classroom setting was a bit surreal but it fit the context of the documentary. Real life is sometimes pretty ugly.
It was during the 3rd or 4th viewing that I realized that I was the same age as some of the youngest students from 1963! I’m now old enough to be theoretically included in a middle school documentary lesson!
Feeling tired now…