To have students explore issues presented in TEST OF COURAGE in greater depth, you may want to assign one or more of these cross-curricular projects. Students may work individually or collectively.
One of the firefighters expresses his belief that affirmative action is a positive thing, when used the way it was intended. How was it intended to be used? How has it been used? Do some research into the history and practice of this controversial topic.
- When and why was the concept of affirmative action created? Have its policies been beneficial?
- Is there a government policy on affirmative action, or is it up to individual companies and organizations?
- What are some businesses or organizations in your area that have affirmative action policies? What do these policies say?
- How do people in your community feel about affirmative action policies? Take a survey of people's ideas on what affirmative action is and how they feel about it.
After viewing TEST OF COURAGE, you should have a good idea of how the Oakland Fire Department works. What about the firefighting organization in your community? Who are the people who fight the fires? Are the crews in your fire department representative of the surrounding community? Visit your local fire station and interview some firefighters. You might ask some of these questions.
- What made you decide to be a firefighter?
- What was the training like? What kinds of tests did you have to pass?
- In this profession, what kinds of dangers do you face? Stresses?
- Are there many women or minority groups in this department? What efforts have been made to bring qualified female and minority applicants into the organization? You can write up the interview as a feature article for the school or local newspaper, or work with other students to create an exhibit based on several interviews.
HIGH PRESSURE JOBS
Firefighting is one of the most dangerous and physically and emotionally demanding jobs in today's world, yet few firefighters choose to leave it for another type of work. What are its rewards? Why do so many people continue to dream of becoming firefighters? Do some research to find answers.
- Survey friends and community members to find out why they think people might want to be firefighters despite all the danger and stress.
- Visit your local fire department. Ask firefighters what the benefits and hardships of their job are.
- Find out what some other jobs are that have similar demands and rewards, and interview people in these professions. (Among the individuals you might talk with are police officers, paramedics, and emergency room physicians.)
- Analyze your results to see what qualities people are looking for in their professions. What makes having a dangerous or stressful job worthwhile?
- What would be important to you in a job? Write a personal statement about what aspects of a job would be most important to you, and what kind of career you might want to pursue.