As an elementary school teacher, I like the curriculum. I like teaching reading, helping kids discover the magic of literature. I like the precision of math, the wonder of science.
But I've never liked teaching history. It seems so dull.
February is Black History Month in schools. That didn't exist when I was a kid. So preparing February lesson plans after school, I leafed through history books. I came across the photo of Amelia Boynton. A young woman in 1965, she was part of a peaceful attempt to cross a bridge during the Selma to Montgomery march. Savagely beaten with clubs by Alabama State Troopers, in the picture, she is near death, unconscious on the ground.
I turned the pages and found another iconic photo. African-American high school students, grimacing in agony, blasted with fire hoses in Birmingham, Alabama. Another page, another photo: African-Americans attacked by police dogs.
I sat in the empty classroom and stared at the photos, so deeply disgusted by the brutality, I could hardly breathe. I can't teach this, I thought, it's too horrible. The kids will have nightmares. In fact, I might have nightmares.