First, let's just note for the record that I do not teach any of the following:
- American politics
- American History
- Some sort of class on media
- A class focused on issues surrounding race
But. This is a "historic moment" blah blah blah. And yet, we live in a world where you can watch anything you want on the computer any time you want. Perhaps I'd feel differently if they wouldn't be able to see this "historic moment" unless we watched it, but the reality is that they will be able to see it. Doesn't that make a difference?
It also would be different if we could just quickly watch the actual historic thing, which is the swearing in. But that happens at noon, and the class won't have started. No, we'd be watching the inauguration speech. Which, I'm sorry, is not a historic moment. Speeches happen every damn day. And we've all seen Obama give uplifting and inspiring speeches for years now. And again, it's not as if one won't be able to watch this particular speech at one's convenience later.
But then, how does one tell a student, "look, it ain't happening" without seeming like a total a) killjoy, b) shrew, c) Obama-hater (which of course I'm not), d) enemy of hope, e) enemy of the excited young people, f) all of the above?
What are you guys going to do about this issue, if, indeed, you just so happen to be teaching at that time? For the time being, I've just ignored the students' email. This, however, is not a permanent solution.