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叶安灵 // 16, 2022 // she-her-hers
hey hey

Message to Readers

hey! you guys are seriously the nicest people on earth :)

i start school today, so lets see if i make it out of junior year alive. have a good day/afternoon/night!

update: my first day went pretty well, but i took at 2 hour nap right after my last class because i was exhausted

If I Do One Thing Right

September 9, 2020


Every week, I design a history lesson for an eight-year-old boy named Alex. We meet over Zoom and go over a slideshow that I’ve made with critical thinking questions to boot. Alex is going into the third grade, so naturally his favorite parts of our sessions are my descriptions of war and bloodshed. I do my best to steer him in the direction of cause-and-effect, but he seems to be all about effect-effect-effect. His mind screams death death death.

It makes sense for someone so young to be infatuated with dying. He is at no risk of it, and so he imagines the battlefield the way other children think about Narnia and alternate universes. But I want Alex to see that history is a lot more than sadness and human emotions.

He needs to see how moral standards have changed, how people are meant to be protected by the law, and how some still aren’t. 

Previously, we’d gone over the American Revolution, both world wars, and Vietnam. The other day, we were covering the Civil War. Along with an explanation of slave labor, abolitionists, and secession, I included lots of pictures, as well as the casualty counts from the biggest battles. I was expecting the same routine, preparing myself to answer questions about which side had bigger weapons and which soldier killed the most people. Then Alex surprised me.

He asked me about what “systemic racism” meant. He wanted to know about a man named George Floyd. He reasoned that if slaves were freed after the Civil War, we shouldn’t still be fighting.

Alex is so young. He was born in 2012, a fact I can hardly wrap my mind around. He is America’s youth, and America’s youth is swimming in a sea of ever-changing news. He’s growing up in a pandemic, surrounded by confusion and anger and frustration. And through learning about history, he’s trying to answer the questions he has about today.

I thought to myself that I’d finally done a good job as his teacher.
*Alex doesn't know it, but his lessons have shown me a lot about what I want to do with my future. Maybe one day I'll thank him, though I don't know if I can explain to him how he's helped.


See History
  • September 9, 2020 - 4:02pm (Now Viewing)

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  • rainandsonder

    good luck with school! good on you for tutoring a kid, i've been thinking about trying out tutoring. this was really interesting to read about your experiences with alex!

    2 months ago
  • inanutshell

    woah, this was unexpectedly profound. kids are a tricky bunch but i can't imagine having to spend those impressionable years of our lives growing up in these very trying times. i'm glad he wants to learn more about it & that you're helping to shape his learning skills, especially in a subject that is so applicable to our current situations. even better that you've learned so much from him about yourself. really inspiring <3

    also good luck with junior year!! all the best for it :)

    3 months ago
  • JustAnotherDarling

    This is a beautiful and inspiring this to see in the morning (it's morning here for me :)

    Also, I hope you have a great first day of junior year! <3

    3 months ago
  • Rohan’s Defender (Rudolph’s Defender #holidayvibes)

    Ps. Good luck with school! I’m rooting for you!

    3 months ago
  • Rohan’s Defender (Rudolph’s Defender #holidayvibes)

    Wow! This is so powerful! Thank you for helping to teach a younger student in such an impactful way!

    3 months ago