I am an educator, I love kids, and I love to see the light bulb go on when they make a discovery and learn something about themselves and the world we live in. I have a master’s degree and an education specialist degree and have been an educator for seven years, so I think I’m qualified to question the material you print in your magazine about my chosen field. In your August/September issue, you ran a full page spread of some cheerleaders [“Totally Radical”] and specifically included one of their anti-Bush lines in the paragraph. As one looks closer at the faces of these “cheerleaders,” one notices that they are not your typical squad; some have unusual hair coloring and styles and lots of black eyeliner. Then, of course, there’s the male cheerleader in the skirt. I have to ask, What is the purpose of glorifying abnormal behavior? Isn’t one of the functions of public education to prepare our students for the real world and the workplace? Then, in one of the quotes, they say “equality between classes"; isn’t that socialism? What is wrong with this picture when a teacher’s magazine bolsters such ideologies and behaviors?
I will not read your left-leaning, biased magazine again. Please don’t send me the typical redundant liberal rhetoric in your explanation, including the words “tolerance” and “diversity.” I also appreciate cultural diversity and freedom of expression. Cross-dressing teenagers who hate their government do not represent culture.
More Than Morals
I do not want your publication to be delivered to my house ever again. I am a proud member of the National Education Association and was offended that the first article in your magazine painted the NEA as a liberal organization primarily concerned with moral issues [“Object Lesson,” May/June]. That is completely false. What about all of the work the NEA has done for the removal of vouchers, combating some of the idiosyncrasies in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, promoting better teaching conditions for all education professionals, and promoting better learning conditions for all students in all schools, among other things? There was no mention of any of these.
If this is a magazine for teachers, then address teachers’ concerns— which, by the way, would probably not represent only 1 percent of NEA members. This article seemed like just another ploy to undermine the positive work that NEA does for all public school employees.
What were you thinking when you chose the picture for the cover of the May/June issue? [To put it] rudely, the two folks on the front would scare me out of wanting to be an educator. Have they never heard “smile”? The American Gothic style of the cover kept me from wanting to read what may have been interesting on the inside. Yes, we do judge books and magazines by their covers!
Columbia, South Carolina
As a history teacher in the state of Louisiana, I applaud the article you included in your May/June issue about Charles M. Christian’s Black Saga Competition [“Cultural Challenge”]. I stumbled upon Christian’s Black Saga: The African American Experience in summer 2001, just before I took my first study abroad trip to Senegal, West Africa. I was a graduate student studying cultural anthropology, and African culture was my focus. Before I purchased it, I thumbed through the pages and found it to contain a wealth of information. It helped me personally, academically, and professionally, which is why I became excited after reading this article.
“Cultural Challenge” gave me hope in knowing that there are still children in our schools who care and wish to learn about African and African American achievements and struggles. It revealed that there are students in our country who enjoy learning about African American history instead of falling asleep or sighing in boredom when presented with it. Your article intrigued me because the students who participate in this competition are excited, motivated, and ready to learn about a subject that is often overlooked in the curriculum. I think the Black Saga Competition is an excellent idea and plan to include this type of activity in my lesson plans. I hope to see it grow into the type of competition Christian wishes it to become.
Faith in Teens
Jeff Devlin’s letter [“Unhappy-Go-Lucky,” May/June, in response to “Leap of Faith,” Roundup, March/April] is at best ill-informed and at worst highly intolerant and offensive. His “ignorance is bliss” comment reveals a lack of understanding of anyone with any religious faith. Perhaps Blaise Pascal, C.S. Lewis, and Francis Schaeffer were all ignorant as well? On the contrary, each was extremely intelligent and gifted in his field of study, and each was devoutly religious. Each of them also fought harder for what he believed in than most people have the need to today.
Perhaps Mr. Devlin would like to contemplate a world in which the Muslims didn’t preserve the ideas and writings of the Greeks and Romans. Or perhaps he would like to reconsider his ill-advised statements and read a few history books to gain some appropriate background information. Religious students of all faiths fight for their beliefs on a daily basis—a fact made obvious by the bigotry exemplified in Mr. Devlin’s letter.
Mr. Jeff Devlin’s letter was deeply disturbing. He portrayed all religious teens as deluded and, by implication, either unthinking automatons or so lacking in intelligent reasoning and discernment as to be incapable of making, or unwilling to make, informed decisions. Contrary to Mr. Devlin’s opinions, the religious teens with whom I associate are bright, thinking people who want the truth.
Beyond his comments about religion, I was appalled by his statement that teens should NOT be content or happy. The fact is, many religious teens who’ve found purpose and direction in their lives through their beliefs are out there “fight(ing) for things” and “try(ing) to make a difference” through selfless, sacrificial service to others, an ethic at the very heart of their faith. To be a teacher with an attitude inimical to religious youth would not, I hope, preclude Mr. Devlin’s acceptance or understanding of them. I feel it’s my duty not only to teach the academics but also to be there for both religious and nonreligious youths so that, if they are hurting, they can be shown unconditional love and acceptance.
St. Joseph, Missouri
I recently led a class discussion about Teacher Magazine in one of my courses. I chose [it] because it is an easy read for teachers like me. It keeps us abreast of new and different techniques to integrate into our classrooms. It also caters to creative minds and lets us see the possibilities still left for us to pursue.
I especially liked “McGyvers in the Making,” from your January 2002 issue; I am a big fan of technology in the classroom. If I had to change one thing, it would be to print more articles dealing with this subject.