9/11: How a Tragedy Turned Into Lessons With Jonathan Osler
September 11th, 2001 is a day that no American citizen will ever forget. While reflecting on the events that occurred that day, people can instantly recall where they were, what they were doing, and most importantly, how they felt the moment they heard the news. The country stood frozen with overwhelming feelings of sadness and fear. For Jonathan Osler, that day was the very first day of his new teaching job. At a small public high school named El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Brooklyn, New York, Osler was very excited to begin this new chapter. What seemed like a regular first day of work turned into a memory filled with many lessons he will never forget.
After that horrific day, the topics of terrorism and international affairs dispersed in education curriculums throughout the United States. Educators were determined to develop a lesson plan that turns the tragic events that took place into valuable life lessons. Some teachers highlighted the resilience of the American people and how ordinary citizens stepped up to help one another in a time of need. Others wanted their students to realize the potential effects that could occur in the Middle East as a result of the attacks. Of course, depending on the level of education, educators did have to curate a curriculum that was age appropriate. During that time, teachers felt that it was their responsibility to educate students and by doing so, they used it as an opportunity to cope.
Studies were also done on how the education system went about teaching topics associated with the terrorist attacks to students and the results may be surprising to readers. According to Asia Society, just weeks before 9/11, American students severely lacked basic global knowledge about other countries around the world. Textbooks back then turned out to be outdated and even teachers training programs did not include much on world affairs. Since that day, however, there has been a noticeable increase in global education. Between the advancements in digital technology, the encouragement of foreign language education, and the general resources have drastically changed.
For Jonathan Osler, the events that occured on 9/11 completely shifted his perspective on what it is to be an educator. In an article published by EdSource, when asked about how the terrorist attacks shaped him, he said, “I’d like to think the experience of starting my teaching career in New York on 9/11 has made me a more compassionate, caring educator. I’ve strived to embody these traits, including over the past year with my undergraduate STEM education students who struggled with the impact of the pandemic.” Many teachers like him have been impacted in similar ways. Through all of the pain and sadness the country had to go through on the day of the attacks, as well as the months and years afterwards dealing with all of the aftermath, the biggest thing American citizens can do is carry the many lessons they learned that day with them for the rest of their lives.
The attacks on September 11th was a monumental day in American history. The country has never been the same and the people in response have taken necessary steps to protect and educate each other. By doing so, everyone is in a way helping to prevent another tragedy like this one to befall on the American people again. The ones whose lives were lost on that day will forever remain in our hearts and will never be forgotten.