Gosh, I’m overwhelmed by this book

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #31883

      I began reading On Austrian Soil the day it arrived at my door, but it has taken me until tonight to finish it. I’d read a bit and then have to set it aside. Though the book challenges us to consider the Holocaust in new ways, what made it so difficult for me was the approach to pedagogy. What does it mean to be a teacher? I have always thought I knew. Yet the last few years, with the challenges of Covid followed by the insanity of the anti-CRT (whatever that is) and anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and new laws here in KY, teaching this way has begun to fill me with dread. I am sure I am exactly the sort of teacher these laws intend to quiet. I have always been so confident in my belief that learning to love others and to love ourselves were the most essential lessons I could teach in the classroom – all of the literary elements only a way into those most essential truths. I’ve spent a lifetime teaching this way. Sondra and her students’ stories moved me deeply – their vulnerability and the genuine love they had for one another, and so many different types of love. We teach about the Holocaust to engender that kind of compassion for others – and ourselves. So, I finish the book with a sense of joy and gratefulness for having read it, but also a renewed determination to craft reading and writing experiences that reach my students in the way Sondra reached hers. It would be so easy to sanitize our work and to let fear of conflict with parents or legislators win. I so look forward to hearing from all of you about how we might continue to be Holocaust educators, and continue to ask, “So what?” in this new and difficult landscape.

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.