Yesterday, a young Junior told me she was nervous about a debate class where she was discussing the Dream Act of California...some of which provides, basically, for no tuition for illegals (yes, it's more nuanced than that, but not much and that's not the point of my post). Here's the point:
I asked her "For or against it?" "For it," she said. I gently asked her "Do you know how that feels to my sisters and friends who've worked terribly hard to provide college tuition for their children?" "Yes, I understand that side of it," she said. She added that she was a little worried because she felt her instructor didn't agree with her. He apparently feels like I do about it. I took a deep breath and told her my truth:
"If you feel you have all the information you need to make a good decision on this Bill, and if you can back it up with that information and sound points which embellish that information, then GO for it........we don't indoctrinate here, we TEACH here and, if you do a good job, your teacher will grade on that, not that you didn't agree with him." She looked at me curiously........"I do feel strong in my opinion..."
Now smack me, someone :-) It was like an out of body experience, right? I didn't argue the point, I didn't make her feel embarrassed for her opinion. I heard hers and she surmised mine. Did it bother me to encourage her to give an opinion I don't agree with? No, because more important to me is that she had researched the point and could voice her truth. I wish public school students the same. But, alas.........