Teacher: I Don't Want to Assign 'Dead, British, White Guy' Shakespeare to Students
One high school English teacher says she doesn’t want to teach the works of a “long-dead, British guy” to her students.
That British guy in question is Shakespeare, who has long been a staple in high school classes across America.
Luther Burbank High School teacher Dana Dusbiber said in a Washington Post op-ed that she doesn’t think educators should “cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago.”
I do not believe that I am “cheating” my students because we do not read Shakespeare. I do not believe that a long-dead, British guy is the only writer who can teach my students about the human condition. I do not believe that not viewing “Romeo and Juliet” or any other modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play will make my students less able to go out into the world and understand language or human behavior. Mostly, I do not believe I should do something in the classroom just because it has “always been done that way.”
What I worry about is that as long as we continue to cling to ONE (white) MAN’S view of life as he lived it so long ago, we (perhaps unwittingly) promote the notion that other cultural perspectives are less important.
Wren High School English teacher Matthew Truesdale disagreed with Dusbiber, arguing that the tradition of Shakespeare should stay in the classroom.
“I’ve taught Shakespeare to students of all ages and ethnic backgrounds and I’ve had success with it,” he said.
He added, “I would hate for us to look at Shakespeare and reduce him to a skin color as well.”