A white New York City teacher is under fire after she reportedly singled out black students and told them to lie on the floor during a lesson on U.S. slavery.My initial reaction was that this teacher is an idiot. However, a colleague of mine who teaches US history, and who taught it in junior high, said that this a "TCI lesson" (I didn't ask what that means) and that the teacher was following the lesson--except for stepping on the student, of course. He said you're supposed to get the classroom dark, have the kids packed in and lying on the floor, to simulate a slave ship. He also said he never had students lie on the floor, but that it is part of the lesson.
The teacher, identified as Patricia Cummings from Middle School 118 in the Bronx, then allegedly stepped on the back of at least one black student to show her what slavery felt like.
Cummings pulled the stunt during multiple seventh-grade social studies classes about two weeks ago, the New York Daily News reported.
“It was a lesson about slavery and the Triangle Trade,” the newspaper was told by one of Cummings' students, who said the teacher instructed three black students to lay on the floor in front of the class. “She said, ‘You see how it was to be a slave?’ She said, ‘How does it feel?’”
When one of the students said she felt fine, Cummings stepped on her.
“She put her foot on her back and said ‘How does it feel?’” the student said. “‘See how it feels to be a slave?’”
Another student said the “lesson” followed a showing of a video of slaves being beaten, tortured and thrown over the side of a ship.
What a stupid lesson, as if lying close to your friends on a classroom floor in any way simulates conditions on a slave ship. Can't a few minutes of watching Roots or Amistad provide enough context?
And to add to it, a teacher stepping on a student constitutes feeling like a slave?
Despite the additional information about the teacher's following a known lesson plan, my first impression was right. The teacher is an idiot.