A Letter to Teachers: This is Facing History | Facing History & Ourselves

A Letter to Teachers: This is Facing History

Margot Stern Strom, students and educators discuss Facing History’s story and impact.
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A Letter to Teachers: This is Facing History


MARGOT STERN STROM: Dear teacher. I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no man should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and burned by high school and college graduates. So I am suspicious of education.

My, request is, help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, and educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.

The first time I read this letter, I thought about my education in Memphis. I thought about how I could sit in a civics class across the street from the zoo, and the zoo said, at one entrance, colored day only on Thursday, and the others, no whites on Thursday. And I'm in a civics class with the ability to get an A on a Bill of Rights exam. What's going on here? The teacher never talks about that.

MATTHEW: A lot of history has been hidden from us. I'm presuming it's because we can't handle it. Facing History provides the tools in order for us to face the history and actually discuss the matters in a proper manner.

TRACE OCAMPO-GASKIN: I am empowering my students to recognize that they have the ability and the obligation and the responsibility to take charge of their communities. To hold their politicians responsible. To make sure that they vote in every election.

MARK OTTO: Facing History is a global organization and it's reaching teachers in all different environments. And each of those teachers are able to affect lives in their classrooms every single day.

EMILY HAINES: I was in South Africa and had the opportunity to observe teachers and students there using Facing History to allow students to confront the past of apartheid and the struggle against apartheid.

MARGOT STERN STROM: If you believe in hope and in the prevention of violence and, ultimately, the prevention of genocide, you have to make educated policymakers.

MARIELLE: Being part of Facing History kind of made me see that it's not always about where I want to go in life and what I need to do to get money or to be successful. That is also taking some time to give back.

MARK OTTO: If we could expand Facing History and the curriculum and the way that we teach the curriculum to all the schools across the country, across the world, it would change the world.

A Letter to Teachers: This is Facing History

How to Cite This Video

Facing History & Ourselves, “A Letter to Teachers: This is Facing History,” video, last updated February 11, 2014. 

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The resources I’m getting from my colleagues through Facing History have been just invaluable.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif