Educators reflect on the significance of teaching about 9/11

For their first assignment of the school year, high school journalists from our network of Student Reporting Labs asked educators in their schools about the significance of teaching 9/11, what the events meant to them, and why it’s important to study the history before and after that day.

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  • John Yang:

    For their first assignment of the school year, high school journalists from our network of Student Reporting Labs asked educators in their schools about the significance of teaching 9/11, what the events meant to them, and why it's important to study the history before and after that day.

  • Kelli Ross Boudreaux, Educator:

    For my generation, I mean, this was a defining moment of our childhood. And so that fear that, like, it could potentially happen again is kind of always there.

  • Charmagne Quarles, Educator:

    Our whole sense of normalcy had been just snatched away from us in a matter of about five minutes.

  • Kurt Linderer, Educator:

    You guys are one of the first generations to be born after 9/11. And so, for you, it's kind of more abstract.

  • Kendall Bay, Educator:

    Every year, when it comes to 9/11 and teachers start mentioning it, the kids kind of roll their eyes, like, we already talked about, we already know about this, which is probably what I did about World War II or Vietnam or something when I was in school.

    But there is a reason why we teach it every year, why we bring it up, is because it was a group trauma that America suffered.

  • Jayson Malkin, Educator:

    Nine-eleven signified what's the best about America, that, in a time of crisis, a time of attack, we have this ability to band together as a nation.

  • Noelle Mouhtarim, Educator:

    A lot of the negative stereotypes that came out as a result of 9/11 followed my family and myself all through my childhood and even today still, where I will be in a Walmart parking lot, and I will be called a terrorist out of nowhere just because of something that happened 20 years ago.

  • Christopher Kopel, Educator:

    We talked about it as it is a singular day. And the singular day was — is scarred into our collective national memory, and it should be. But to understand it requires more than understanding when the first plane took off, and then when the sun went down on September 11. There's just a lot more to that story.

  • Justin Bressler, Educator:

    It really helped me understand how stupid I was, how much you just don't know about the rest of the world. Why did they do that? Where did they come from? Who are these people?

    And so, in that regard, it was a blessing for me, because I started to study other cultures and had no idea that people thought this way.

  • Tim Carroll, Educator:

    We just ended a 20-year war with Afghanistan, the occupation of Iraq. We don't even know how many people were killed and displaced. And it's because we don't really think about the people we're killing and displacing. They're on the other side of the world.

  • Andria Morningstar-Gray, Educator:

    It was certainly in my lifetime was one of the — was the first time that I realized that the United States is vulnerable to outside attack.

    So, I think that you should learn that the outside world matters and our impact on it and its impact on us.

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