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Remember you are teaching students, not a curriculum

By Ryan Fan, Special Education Teacher in Baltimore, Maryland

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As a 9th-grade Special Education Teacher in Baltimore City, I have had some hard conversations with my students recently.

Recently, a bus driver got shot and killed about five blocks from where I live after a confrontation with a passenger. In Baltimore, at the very beginning of our school year, a 14-year-old got shot and killed. It happened in the area where my students live, and one of my students, who knew the kid, made sure to correct the news report:

“He wasn’t 14. He was 15.”

Every start of the class, we talk about current events to encourage active citizenship. I’ll mention the latest Trump news or coronavirus news, and much of the news will ring hollow to a disengaged group of students. I’m talking national news, while my students are talking local — where they often hear the news is Instagram. In Baltimore, their favorite place to get the news is an Instagram page called Murder Ink, which documents much of the local crime and killings. …

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