The TownhallSocial issues

The price of ‘woke’ in the classroom

By Douglas Marolla 

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV. 

We had our “staff development” session yesterday afternoon. For once, it wasn’t a colossal waste of time. Normally, someone who has never, or barely, taught anyone anything is put in front of us and proceeds to tell us how to teach high school English. They cite “studies” and say “The research shows…” repeatedly. None of it has any real-world value. Five minutes after it’s over, I’ve already forgotten what they said. 

This time was a bit different. We had three high school teachers from the district show us what they’ve done in class with students. They shared how they’ve achieved success, and how they did it. It’s only these kinds of staff development sessions that have any value whatsoever. It was one of these three teachers who has paid the price of “woke.” 

This young teacher explained how he was able to get students’ attention by relating social issues and history to the literature at hand in class. Because he was relating social studies and to a degree, social justice, to the literature, students were engaged and expanding their literary worlds. I appreciate this approach. More than a few times I’ve had students say, “this feels like a history class.” 

The young presenter, however, had more skill and more energy than I could ever produce. He was a gifted deliverer of information. He was able to make people laugh, get reactions from key people, use various kinds of jargon, and work the room like a pro. I was pumped to hear what he had to say, and at my age, that’s saying a lot. After being in the school business all these years it requires thermonuclear levels of energy to not only get my attention but also get me fired up. 

I was laughing and engaged with everyone else. More importantly, I was keyed in on what he was saying, because the vibe and the energy were so real. 

Where it took a bad turn was the wokeness. 

The best example I can give is when he was talking about teaching Elie Wiesel’s “Night” and how the treatment of the narrator and children in general in the novel was so horrible. He stated how he paralleled that to “when Trump was putting kids in cages.” 

Of course, there was a solemn nodding of heads, and most people went along for the ride. The problem is that the border issue has been ongoing for years, prior to the Trump presidency. Those “cages” were built during the Obama years, in an attempt to house children in a way that kept them from human trafficking. Our disgusting corporate press needed you to hate Trump (that’s another column), so they dressed it up as “kids in cages,” and this young, supremely talented teacher picked up the ball and ran with it. 

I’m sure the cages motif is no longer used, even though the situation at the USA/Mexican border is possibly worse than ever, and children are getting separated from adults. I would bet big money that the current group of lizards who run DC aren’t taking much, if any, flak in this person’s class. The last administration’s swamp creatures were fair game, but now I would suspect that the “kids getting treated poorly” part of the lesson is different or harkens back to Trump. Because everybody knows, in an area like this one, that Democrat equals good, and Republican equals bad. 

This is the problem with “woke.” 

Here you have a gifted instructor, able to reach teenagers who need his skills the most. Instead, the students are getting the CNN/MSNBC/New York Times woke package that every liberal white female in America posts on social media. Sorry, I’m just going to say it like it is. 

What a terrible waste of talent. 

I learned long ago that it’s vital that a teacher move heaven and earth to try to teach students how to think, not what to think. Were I this young teacher’s mentor, I would challenge him to expand the scope of these issues. Does the other side have a point? Is it possible that there is more than one side to an issue? Why is it important to question the source of a story? Has the mainstream corporate media lost its way? How did you learn that Democrat equals good and Republican equals bad (or vice versa)? 

I’m actually not overly critical, and I kept my mouth shut during and after the presentation because I, at one time, was this teacher. I was a Manhattan and Bronx-dwelling NYC democrat who knew who the good and bad guys were. While not overly political, I was clear, yet unthinking with my opinions. What happened to me was, around 2005, I looked around and noted that all the people and policies that I liked and agreed with produced little success. 

Did the “other side” have the answers when it came to school and education? 

The short answer is no, but after going through a democrat phase, a conservative phase, a libertarian phase, a conspiracy phase, and an anarchist phase, I can tell you one thing: the people at the top are playing us. They use fear to manipulate our thoughts and emotions. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. I have tried over the years to make it so that young students’ minds are as immune to the “kids in cages” meme as they are to the “MAGA” meme. 

I hope the young teacher I saw figures it out. If he does, look out. The students who come out of his class will be intellectual supernovas – immune to all the clownishness the nonsense machine spews out with reckless abandon.  If he keeps it all the woke lane, then you’ll simply see more students able to spout the latest babble from the media. 

That would be a crying shame.

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Douglas Marolla

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