Blogging against racism a full week late. Forgive me.
Earlier this week my mentor teacher (MT) parodied the hippies of the 60s, which was easy because she was one, and stood in the hallways with her “Make Love, Not War” placard, two fingers held up in a peace sign, clad in Indian-print shirt and bandana. She resumed her position at the head of the classroom this week, teaching Transcendentalist literature to our college-bound 11th graders. In order to put the transcendentalists into some sort of frame that these kids understand, we have been drawing connections between those in the 1860s and those in the 1960s, painting them as ideological brethren. “My parting words to you,” I started last Friday as I wrapped up my tenure with their class. “It’s all John Lennon, baby, living for today.”
The students are only interested in the hippies’ drugs. Nonetheless, we tried to impart the importance of political action and public works that were so prevalent to these thinkers and assigned a fun experiment that MT modeled above: Commit a public act of nonconformity, step outside of your comfort zone, record your observations, share with the class on Monday.
Their projects have been interesting. Three girls walked out of class unannounced (and were so scared they ran right back into their seats after doing a lap around the cafeteria), and two girls came to school clad in a grab bag of political slogans ranging from the pro-Christian to the anti-war. Another girl, an uber-preppy straight-A student, came to school dressed in knee high leather boots, a short skirt, and white bandana, strutting the halls like a biker babe with the bad attitude to match and skipped classes all day to hang out with the most awesome student teacher ever.
The most radical experiement of them all took my breath away. Yesterday, a Muslim student, only one of two in the school, took off her hijab.