Black History Month: A look into the classroom
SALISBURY, Md. – In the classroom, teachers in Wicomico County are emphasizing the importance of Black History Month. Two teachers, Melissa Schock and Sarah Harmon say they are just excited to be in the position to mold young minds and hopefully instill a foundation of both acceptance and understanding.
“We first focus on why black history month was started to begin with,” said Schock.
The two teachers have a different approach to introducing Black history, but ultimately, have the same goal: educated and grow.
“I mainly start off by telling them and expressing to them that black history is American history first and foremost,” said Harmon.
One thing that is the same in both classrooms, however, is the initiative to bring the history into the classroom, presently and physically. That way, students can see African-Americans now who are making a change, and those who have faced adversity.
“Every day in my class right now I’ve been broadcasting an entrepreneur from the Eastern shore,” Harmon says. “…and I’ve been putting up their bio and we’ve been talking about these people and it’s been great because these kids are like ‘oh my God I know her’ or ‘I know him’ and ‘I’ve seen him’ and that’s the joy I want them to see. I want them to know that there are people in our community who are succeeding.”
“We have done a African-American history symposium, a local African-American history symposium,” Schock says. “There is a very rich history here on the shore and it’s often overlooked and we want to bring it into Wi-Hi.”
Their goal: to help their students learn the forgotten parts of African-American history. The holes that were previously left unfilled in society, our classrooms, our communities. Holes that now both teachers are trying their best to fill.
“No one likes to see a puzzle missing a piece. As a matter of fact it’s very frustrating when you can’t find that piece,” Harmon said. “So I’m doing my job by filling in those missing pieces in the puzzle.”
Hopefully by filling that gap, maybe, just maybe the teachers say that is when we will get to a place of acceptance and understanding for different cultures.
“Everyone needs to realize that not everyone’s experience is the same and that if you ever want to change the government, or change society, look a lot at the Civil Rights Movement they use the government to change the government. That’s a lesson for everyone.,” Schock said.
Meanwhile Harmon says, “Our country is definitely divided now now is the time for us to heal those wounds and how do we do that? We start by telling the truth. We start by infusing this history for kids to understand.”
Both teachers have calls to action for their students. Harmon is urging her students to be active in their community and asking them what contributions can you make to make your community a better place.
Meanwhile, in Shock’s class, she is encouraging all of her students to vote when they are of age, telling them if they want to see a change they need to make their voices heard.