I Will Teach

I am a teacher…so I will teach: 

When he speaks of “walls” I will teach about the Berlin Wall. 

When he speaks of “databases” and “extreme vetting” I will teach about internment camps and concentration camps. 

When he calls them “thugs” I will teach about Civil Rights. 

When he calls them “rapists and criminals” I will teach of unions. 

When he speaks of the “traditional marriage” I will teach about Harvey Milk and Mathew Shepard. 

When he speaks of the “sanctity of life” I will teach the facts of human reproduction. 

When he speaks his version of “locker-room talk” I will teach about consent. That NO means NO and NOTHING makes you entitled to another person’s body. 

When he says “Nasty Woman” I will teach about suffrage. 

When he says “You should be in jail” I will teach about Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Liu Xiaobo, and countless others. 

When this moment comes up in history I will teach about the power of fear and anger to divide people into “Us” vs. “Them” 

Today I teach perhaps the hardest lesson of all, that despite feeling defeated, disgusted, and disheartened each of us has a choice. 

All good teachers know that true learning occurs, not in the hearing of words, the learning of facts, but in the application. Principles unchallenged remain only comforting ideals. To grow, all learners must be tested and today is our test. 

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.” 

“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.” 

-Gandhi

By Cheyenne Lemmon – daughter-in-law of Sandy Blackman, and educator with the Lincoln County (Oregon) School District.

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