Have you ever attempted to teach a lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. to a group of 2nd grade students with communication disorders whose first language is Spanish? A simplified yet factual exploration into the man behind the holiday managed to slip into the throes of revisionist history as yesterday’s lesson inadvertently wandered off-topic despite Ms. Troi’s heroic efforts to cling to her intended lesson.
Ms. Troi: Does anybody know why Martin Luther King is so important to us?
Kids: Wasn’t he the president?
Ms. Troi: No, he wasn’t the president. Martin Luther King was actually –
Kids: What about Abraham Lincoln? Wasn’t he a president?
Ms. Troi: Yes. But back to –
Kids: But Abraham Lincoln was ass-inated!
Ms. Troi: Do you mean “assassinated?”
Kids: (giggling) Ms. Troi just said a bad word!
Ms. Troi: So Martin Luther King was –
Kids: Was George Washington a president?
Ms. Troi: Yes, he was the first president.
Kids: Oh man, so he must be like so OLD!
Ms. Troi: No, um, he’s dead. But remember, we’re actually learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. He was important because –
Kids: Wasn’t he a president?
Ms. Troi: (Giving up.) Yes. Yes, he was the president. (Holds up a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. from a history book.)
Kids: Oh, yeah, I know him! He was on TV the other day talking about health care!
Ms. Troi: Here, kids, do this worksheet. Don’t mind me, I’m just going to go throw myself in front of a school bus.