What does your son what to do? Does He want to concede or be the rebel? I’m all for supporting him in his endevor to stand up for what he sees as wrong.. but is this a fight he’s asking for help with?
If the teacher has ever stepped one foot in the door of a university EVER he/she would be able to recognize that the parameters of this project are a little too closed minded. I would assume that your son’s explanation of this would be a very valued and reasonable responce to the project it’self. Immigration is not that cut and dry… a lesson that perhaps the teacher needs to be taught. That is IF your son wants to take up this battle.
I listened to this video post with my husband and he pointed out that this assignment is not about immigration, it’s about geneology. If it was about immigration the teacher could have assigned a specific group of people for each student to write about. Then everyone in the class would have learned about immigration, and a different ethnic group too.
If it’s a geneology project, then let the chips fall where they may. Your geneology is what it is. As the assignment stands though, it’s very poorly thought out. I would hope that an educator could see beyond the parameters of her assignment.
Be a rebel, forget the pause man, fast forward! I would say, in the defense of the teacher, that she did not think this thing through. You brought up a point that she probably never thought of. I believe we can be informative without being disruptive. If you stated to a classroom of children, “tomorrow I want everyone to write about their first outing with their father.” We know that this would be an issue that would exclude a certain number of people and most teachers would avoid this type of assignment, today, but maybe not 40 years ago. Continuing Education is essential, even for teachers. Teach on! (Video, Nice touch!)
What an insensitive teacher. I wonder what would her response have been if your child was 100% Native American. I would go ahead and do the project on the Cherokee since that is the only definite heritage your family knows about. Maybe your son can teach the teacher and the classroom something about melting pot of this country.
Rebel all the way baby. My bumper sticker says, “Well behaved women (and men too!) seldom make history”. Thanks Kevin, as always your posts/video are incredibly valuable to me as an adoptive mom of three kiddos who are caucasion/hispanic/african american. It’s incredibly important we educate our children’s teachers. Can’t wait to hear what hapens ;).
You and your son attempted to accommodate the assignment by writing about his Native American heritage, but this teacher went beyond clueless institutional racism and went either into stubborn insensitivity, or fell back on her personal racism. Unless you are a believer in a native creation story, where man originated in the America’s, your son could have written about native peoples immigration from Asia. I suppose this was too much for this teacher to comprehend.
This teacher should have realized her error and saw the situation as a powerful teaching moment. This was an opportunity lost. Your son could have researched either native history or slavery and made a great impression on the class.
With the rejection of your son’s chosen topic of Cherokee, you cannot concede. Your son can either draft a paper about an African country of heritage, that is likely false, or write a paper that doesn’t meet the requirements of the assignment. He cannot win. I suggest he write his paper on slavery. At least then he can educate his class on the realities of “immigration” and draft a paper with real facts, not fiction. If the teacher marks him down, go over her head. You tried to accommodate her, but she placed your son in an unwinnable situation.
NOTE: I embedded your video at my blog and linked back to here. If hope that is OK. If not, drop me a note: robertburns3 – at – gmail. Not that my blog has a ton of visitors, but I figure my friends and family can learn a lot from you.
As a teacher, I’m wondering if her insistance on choosing a country is because there will be follow-up activities that will branch from that, such as additional geography or writing assignments. If so, the teacher should have explained her reasoning! I am wondering if there aren’t other children in a similar situation in the class and how they are choosing to address the assignment. I also agree that your son should be the one making the choice. He could choose to write from the perspective of “we don’t know for sure which country in modern day Africa our ancestors came from, but it is likely that they came…….
As both an adoptive parent and a teacher, working in an urban school district with all African American students, I truly appreciate your perspective. Keep writing/video blogging/talking about these types of issues.
I could give the teacher the benefit of the doubt for overlooking the fact that not all of her students might be descended from “immigrants,” but once you brought it to her attention, I find her obstinance confusing and narrow-minded. I agree with the person who posted above who said that if it was on immigration, she should have selected a specific group, or even assigned each child to research a name that came through Ellis Island or something like that. But to make it personal when it can’t be personally applied by everyone is insensitive and creates a difficult situation for your son. I wouldn’t give in.
Don’t give in. The assignment is on the student’s heritage. If the teacher finds a heritage unsuitable for the assignment she should have chosen different parameters. What message is she sending students that do not have the cookie cutter immigration story? Your history is not important?! It is ironic that she wants to teach a lesson on how the United States is a melting pot but is trying to exclude a large part of that melting pot. Your son should be able to pick any part of his heritage that he wants to. It is a fantastic learning experience for him and his classmates. How are we supposed to teach children to be proud of their heritage when we are asking them to ignore parts of it? If I was in this situation I would let the teacher know that if the assignment is to research one’s heritage then that is what my child will be doing.
Great food for thought. My youngest is only going to enter Kgarten this fall so I appreciate this view into what might come. My oldest is from China… hmmm… her bio family didn’t emmigrate here either. She was adopted into this country. My youngest is biracial facing the same unknown as you. Now that I’m having this advanced warning (thank you), I think I’ll have them rebel (although, hopefully it won’t be a rebellion for them – I hope their teachers will have more sense) and tell the truth as it’s known. For my oldest, there was the one child policy and adoption. If this assignment were to take place in middle or high school, maybe we’d even touch on government seizure and removal of children and child trafficking. My younger may choose from several possibilities or touch on many – anything from slavery to Asian emmigration with the early native Americans to Mayflower… who knows? Definitely food for thought.
To answer your question… rebel (if, as others mentioned, it’s what your son wants to do).