Posts Tagged ‘essay’
Throughout the Middle East, many Muslim women wear burqas. It is meant to conceal the woman’s identity, and in the West tends to be seen as a cruel manifestation of a chauvinistic patriarchy, where women are repressed sexually.
Note: I didn’t say that. The West did.
Enter Ms. Bees’ anecdote. To fulfill a broad prompt for an English class, one of Ms. Bees’ students volunteered to wear a burqa for a period of time, and then to write a report about her experiences.
What makes this not your run-of-the-mill-Midwest-girl-wears-a-burqa story is because the teacher reflects on the effect the burqa has on the onlooker.
That’s when I realized that something else was going on in my brain. Maybe it was the religious feeling of the garment, or just the girl’s courage, but I was treating Lisa with an entirely new level of respect and deference.
The sociological impact of a burkha is not, apparently, limited to its native lands. It’s a hardwired response – the cause and effect are not where I thought they were. I couldn’t resist my reaction to Lisa if I’d tried.
Of course, the post laps at the resident burqs-are-a-symbol-of-a-latent-patriarchy Kool-Aid, but this excerpt brings a point of contemplation: However much burqas keep women from expressing themselves — which, perhaps, they don’t — they do, in a sense, confer an “entirely new level of respect and deference.”
Is it time for the West to stop using the burqa as a symbol of repression, or are her albeit pulled-out-of-context comments also out of line?
Within hours of getting my morale busted, I set to writing a American history curriculum that could go a few good rounds with even that of those pesky TCI guys.
After grinding them on memorization of states, the timeline and the presidents, we get to the nitty-gritty that is the economy of the United States. I figure that because money makes the world go ’round, it deserves top billing. Wars are instigated, propped up and decided largely by the economy, as are politicians and most notable social reforms, so an understanding of the economy is crucial.
Semester one, therefore, ended up a little like this.
three weeks — memorization grinding
five weeks — economy
major test 1
two weeks — political movements
two weeks — media history
five weeks — wars
major test 2 (cumulative)
Semester two is a bit more fun, and not only because the winter assignment is to write a paper on an assassinated president. Sure, half the class will have Kennedy or Lincoln, but the other half — and, as I assign it, the half of the class who could do with a challenge — will have Garfield and McKinley.
This semester is more fun because I say it’s more fun. Or, maybe it’s because I have better materials for it so far.
The second semester ended up something like this:
one week — present assassin papers
one week — intro. to the Supreme Court
six weeks — slavery and civil rights
major test 3
two weeks — religion
four weeks — social reform
two weeks — immigrants, Indians and other minorities
major test 4 (cumulative)
three weeks — some sort of major presentation
Note that the second tests in a semester are cumulative. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Moral of the story? Whatever the motive, there is never anything wrong with preparing curricula in advance.