There has been a fair amount of press recently about the rise in challenges and bans of books in libraries and public schools. A recent, high-profile example has been McMinn County, Tennessee, which is near where I live and work. At the end of January 2022, the McMinn County school board released a statement explaining its decision to “remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.”
Now, community hysteria and moral panic and desperate pleas to “PROTECT THE CHILDREN!” are nothing new. Several decades ago, it was the Harry Potter series, and before that, heavy metal. One of my favorite old books is Paths to Perdition, which was published in 1922. It includes a section about the evils of ‘modern dance.’ The modern dance to which the book referred was not the jitterbug or Charleston; it was the Viennese waltz.
Since I’m writing and filming this just before the school year starts, I’m including my Amazon wishlist at the end of the post. I teach at a school in rural Georgia, so these are things that aren’t so essential that I’m going to get them myself, but that I think would be nice bonuses: multicolored pens and markers, skin-tone crayons and colored pencils, and cooperative games. So, absolutely not essential, but if you do feel like helping out, I would be super grateful!
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics were pushed back a year. They started on July 23, and will continue until August 8.
The Olympic Games are completely unique. No other event captures the level of prestige and splendor it carries. And while the events are competitions, the sportsmanship and even cooperation shown by the athletes embodies the “spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play” described in the Olympic Charter.
Social media is a very nearly unavoidable part of life for many of us. I keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook, and I’ve recently started using Twitter to connect with other teachers. Many teachers avoid connecting with students because they are worried about violating expectations for ethical professional behavior. However, the reasons to refuse students’ “friend” requests on social media are incredibly exaggerated. Involvement on social media should not be a concern for teachers who are otherwise capable of interacting with students in a professional manner.