The Melting Pot Lesson

This one via Esther, about how our teachers navigate the different standards inside and outside the community.

So it was in fifth grade, during a history lesson. The teacher was saying something about Mexico, and said (kinda loud, because she had a loud, exuberant voice) “And that’s where all our Mexicans come from!”

Then she realized that the Hispanic janitor was changing lightbulbs right outside our door. She asked very quietly if he was there, and when a student confirmed that yes, he was right outside our door just then, she went on in her loud teaching voice:

“And that’s Argentina, where Argentinians are from! And that’s Brazil, where Brazilians are from! And Ecuador, where Ecuadorians are from!  And that, girls, is why America is called a melting pot!”

And now I think of that as the “melting pot” lesson, though it was actually about something else entirely…

The Melting Pot Lesson

3 thoughts on “The Melting Pot Lesson

  1. Dana Friedman says:

    Wasn’t she cute, covering up her racist language ONLY because janitor was within earshot. Par for the course. Of course it probably never occurred to her that less than a century prior, Jews were the minority who were accepted in from Europe and looked upon questionably by the WASPs.

    All she’s doing is paying it forward and teaching her students to do the same. Nice going, Bais Yaakov. I’m so grateful to this blog. I learn so much about how they operate (good and bad).


    1. Esther Bernstein says:

      The weird part is, this teacher was so nice to everyone. But an insular mindset is still an insular mindset, even in the nicest of people.


  2. Rachelle T. says:

    Like my really well meaning friends who tell me they feel bad that I don’t work in a Jewish school, so I could feel real nachas from my students. Because they think can’t feel nachas from the amazing things my non Jewish public school students accomplish.
    They’re wrong of course. Even my three year old know that my students are my “babies from work” and that I have incredible nachas from my students.

    Liked by 1 person

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