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You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught 

I’ve had a lot of teaching and learning  moments over the past month. I visited home! By visiting home I learned about all the changes I had made in my 10 months abroad. I learned a new appreciation for all the opportunities I have and all the things I used to take for granted. I learned that a fridge full of food can shock me so much that I just stare at it for 5 full minutes. 

Thanks for welcoming me home! Photo via pixabay.com

The teaching moments were all varied. Zac came to visit and I taught him all about Panama. We saw the many different designs for sombreros, Zac put his minimal Spanish knowledge to the test, and we got to catch up after not seeing each other for about a year. 

There have been formal teaching moments as well. I helped a friend write his resume in English for job applications. Eli, a fellow peace corps volunteer, texted me about a medical gira that he and some other volunteers were at and told me they could use a hand translating for the American doctors that had come in. University students from penonome were there helping to translate too, so I managed to hitch a ride with them and spend two days translating and learning how to say things like “pterygium” in Spanish (it’s terijillo). And finally, I gave a seminar on increasing student talking time to a group of about 40 English teachers in Panama City! It’s been a really busy month! 

All the university students I translated with

Talking with teachers at the TESOL conference

Finally, I want to talk about the title of this post. The song is from South Pacific. You may be wondering what on earth a musical from 1949 has to do with anything but go with me here. Thematically, the show centers a lot on racism. The new US President ran his campaign on racism and people supported it. This song examines how he and his supporters came to be. The  lyrics are printed below for you: 

You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.



You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.


You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!

I am so proud of all the people who have decided that we are going to stand up and show our new President that we will not stand for the racism, bigotry, and small-mindedness that his campaign stood on. We are not teaching hate; we are educating one another on issues that affect our citizens such as LGBT rights, especially recognition, support, and protection for trans and non-binary people, women’s rights, and minority rights. Yesterday America demonstrated that we will not allow Trump’s rhetoric and hate to knock us down and we will fight for the next four years to protect our freedoms. All of my friends that marched taught me that the next four years will be full of hope for the future. All of the people around the world that marched in solidarity taught me that we are not standing alone. For that, I want to thank you. We are all citizens of the same world and we all fight for the same things: peace, equality, and love in all its forms. 

A photo from my friend of the Women’s march in DC

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