A Talk with Teachers

At NCTE, I got the opportunity to lead a discussion around Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. How do you teach this play? How do you deal with the sensitive issues around, race, class, gender, and cultural discovery? One teacher said she was concerned about teaching the play because she knows people will resist it not because it deals with difficult issues, but because it has black characters. It was interesting listening to this northern teacher talk to the teachers from the South who also teach the play. I wasn’t prepared for these comments. There has been a bit of talk about living in a post-racist society. We talked about asking students to go beyond the play and write about what the Youngers’ lives might have been like in Clyborne Park. One teacher said her eleventh graders have a hard time imagining that. This conversation reminded me that I need to work harder to have conversations with teachers about teaching literature.