Bradbury's "The Veldt" Empowered My Civil Disobedience!

Ironically, as a language arts teacher the last set of lessons I taught were for the short story "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury. The truth is, my last week as a teacher I did not want to cheat my good students from their education, so I decided to search for something meaningful to teach which would carry me to survive throughout the week. As I read the short story for the first time preparing my final lessons, I soon discovered forces beyond my understanding were at work because the story's theme provided me with a perfect ending to my 20 year teaching career...if I had intentionally sought out to find a story to express my dissatisfaction with public education, I would have not found it. My stumbling upon "The Veldt" so haphazardly felt like a sign that I had made the right decision, and I would go out making quite an indirect statement! It was my civil disobedience of sorts, my moment of empowerment after years of abuse, and a way to send a message to all: the dysfunctional parents, the incompetent administrators and the insolent little children. I cried for the innocent bystanders, but unfortunately my heart could bleed for them no more. I won't spoil the ending of the story because I urge all teachers to read it on those days when they feel defeated, but all I will say is that in typical Bradbury fashion, the story's themes express the plain truth about society and children today, even though it was written over 50 years ago. Bradbury warned of us these days of "just answering back" would come...we did not listen, and so we as teachers deal with these monsters who know they can get way with murder because they know adults fear them. I did not, and I wish more of us would not.


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