This week I've been torturing my students with midterms all week. I feel like midterms should be used to teach rather than punish, but if you haven't paid attention to the readings or lectures for the entire class, then I imagine a midterm that reviews those things could be considered torture.
At the end of the English midterm, I have a quote from Henry Bibb's Diary where he talks about the evils of slavery. I ask the students to express how this passage inspires them today. One woman stayed after and rewrote her response over and over again. She felt so strongly about his book that she is having her son read it now. I was so touched at how moved she was by his story. This is why I teach.
I believe in the importance of sharing our stories. I am moved by reading your blogs! I believe it is important to communicate our experiences, because they do inspire us. Henry Bibb could have simply escaped to freedom and kept his story to himself, but he didn't. He educated himself and wrote a beautiful anti-slavery treatise and travelled all over the north preaching against the evils of slavery in 1848! He is a true inspiration for standing up for our beliefs, despite difficult circumstances.
And to see one student become so excited about a man's story from over 150 years ago made my job worth all the late nights and the traffic.