Teaching the Crisis: A High School Teacher’s Story

As the crisis intensifies in Palestine and Israel, we are hearing stories like the one below about responses from colleagues and students. Take a moment to read this teacher’s moving testimony.

It has been a challenge addressing what is happening in Palestine and Israel. Unfortunately, the majority of my coworkers are unconditional supporters of Israel and co-sign the United States’ extraordinary military support of this ruthless regime. These are typically “progressive” folks who have greatly disappointed me. Even in the face of my calm requests for dialogue and my sharing resources that challenge the majority narrative, it’s clear that this issue has become so propagandized that there is little room for discourse.

On the other hand, my district’s central office has shared Zinn Education Project resources with all social studies teachers and several high schools in the county have organized student-led walkouts in support of a ceasefire and against the United States’ involvement in Israel. Central office is asking administrators at these schools to excuse participating students’ absences.

In terms of my instruction, I have tried to focus on centering a people’s history of the United States’ unequivocal support of Israel. Through this lens and in employing an inquiry-based model, students are discovering the truth about what is going on — without me having to say much of anything at all. They are poking holes in the dominant narrative that Israel is a perfect democracy while Palestinians are vandals who do not deserve our sympathies.

As a teacher, I observe time after time that youth are leading the way.

This teacher asked to remain anonymous. We have also heard from teachers suspended for posting messages about the devastation in Palestine on their social media. Share your teaching experiences.

Let us know if you have used or adapted any of the teaching resources in this growing Zinn Education Project collection and/or what sort of support or restrictions you’ve encountered.

Our resource collection includes lessons, films, children’s books, podcasts, and articles on the long history of colonialism and resistance in Palestine and Israel, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and more.

Teaching Resources

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