I watched “A Raisin in the Sun” yesterday. I don’t think anyone could watch that movie and not be riveted by the performances…..the actors were stellar. Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil as the wise mother. I thought to myself, who wouldn’t be affected by this; couldn’t this be used as a teaching tool to make students see a piece of life some may still associate as their own, or at least recognize it in our nation today.
School curriculums have changed in recent years. The classics, the Dickens, the Brontes, the Robert Louis Stevensons…..fallen by the wayside. Much as it stabs my heart to write these words…..I understand. I understand how a kid in an inner city has nothing in common with Mr. Darcy’s English estate and lady friends. Dickens writes of the impoverished, the struggles ……..but Victorian London might as well be the Lunar surface for some who care not to open a page and look inside that time in history.
But Sidney Poitier, lamenting over his shriveled dreams might sound closer to home than the moon.
Kids who hear their parents speak of the short end of the stick might identify and want to sit and listen……maybe, just maybe……..even read the original play.
Let kids watch Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird”………… don’t ban these books from the shelves of school libraries, bring in the DVD’s to classrooms, put the pages to prominent library shelves. Kids today want instant visual gratification, let that visual be riveting and they might just soak up more than you would imagine.
Today, our youth is not attending balls to find their own Mr. Darcy……they might be dodging bullets in a dance of survival on the streets. Their fathers might be struggling to obtain their own seemingly unreachable dreams…….just to get a little bit ahead in this world.
If we want our youths to move ahead in this world, we have to keep their desire for learning nurtured. Some schools now opt for students to choose their curriculum. This is wrong. Some schools keep teachers’ hands bound tightly to what is the accepted schedule each term. This is wrong. Entrust a teacher to determine what is best for his or her class; yes there must be some boundaries to respect. Most entered this field with dreams of their own……which are becoming more and more illusive in this troubled world. I come from a long line of educators, teachers, principals, professors. Many taught in the toughest inner city neighborhoods. An uncle of mine became Godparent to one of his pupils, the lines of color disintegrating.
This nation is disintegrating…….literally……………………
Parents are too busy working, grandparents live across the country…….who, then, is left to sculpt the minds of our children……..A sculptor works best when given the right tools, the perfect piece of marble, a place where his mind can imagine. Give that to our teachers, give them good classrooms, truthful textbooks; let them carve the path for every other profession in our world.