How Should We Teach Future Generations About 9/11?

I Am The Kindergarten Class Of 9/11, And I'm Not Sure How I'll Teach My Own Students About 9/11

The students who were kindergarteners on September 11, 2001 are now 23 and 24 years old, just entering the workforce. What does this mean for future generations?

Samantha Rosenfield

To be honest, I do not remember September 11, 2001 very well. More specifically, I cannot recall what happened on that specific day. I was 5 years old, I was in my kindergarten classroom in one of the safest towns in Massachusetts. I was old enough to remember events throughout that school year, such as crying on the bus ride to my first day of school, drawing a picture of an apple tree in our poetry book, meeting "Banana the Snake" when we had a reptile expert visit us, our field trip the local post office... the list goes on.

Of course, now that I am older, my parents tell me things they remember from that day, however, when it comes to September 11, the only thing I can clearly recall from that day is being picked up early from school.

I was 5 years old.

I was in kindergarten.

I have grown up in a post-9/11 world and I do not remember much if anything from that day specifically.

However, every year when the anniversary rolls around I cannot help but have a somewhat somber feeling. A feeling that people who were born after the event do not experience as heavily.

I am now 23 years old, a graduate student receiving my master's in education, who hopes to have her own classroom next year. The events of 9/11 are now being taught as "history," not as "current events." The students in my classroom will have been born 10, 11 years after the event took place. Even the students who are currently college-age would have been too young to remember events of that day. I am essentially the last "class" of students with vague, first-hand recollection.

So, what does this mean?

What is my responsibility, as a teacher and an educator?

What responsibility do people my age, who are just entering the workforce, have to the next generation?

Social studies and history has always been my favorite school subject. You can learn so much about the present and the future based on the past. At times I can even argue that it is one of the most important subjects. Working on finding ways to convey the importance of an event that shifted the perspective of a nation to a generation that classifies that time as "history" is a major task. Just as the Holocaust or the Titanic sinking, only second and third-hand accounts will be there in the years to come.

The truth is, I do not know what our role in all of this is. Some say that September 11, 2001, is still taught the same way as it was in 2003, 2004, 2005... documentaries screened, memorials held, an announcement over the loudspeaker. Others do not even recognize the day. In many curriculums "the war on terrorism" is the chapter succeeding or even the same breath as the day's events.

There are countless opinions on how this day should and is taught if taught at all. Is it history or is it a "current" event? This is why as educators, as humans entering the workforce who will shape the generation to come it is our duty to convey the importance that September 11th, 2001, had in our nation's history. To account not only the events of the day and remember those that we lost, but to go beyond, and look at events of the years prior and the years following and how history has and will continue to shape us. Follow: @welaughwelovewelearn

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