The History Teacher Who Sings About the Election With His Students

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“I just started talking about the election to my 6-year-old daughter.” Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Rob Goldberg, History Teacher

How do you teach this election?
Well, I teach fourth-graders and also tenth- through 12th-graders, but with the fourth-graders, they’re all pretty much saying the same thing, so I’ve been trying to introduce new ideas to them. The other day, I told them about the Green Party, and I was surprised to see how open they all were to it, that there’s a party that supports even more of what they want.

What were the fourth-graders like on Wednesday morning?
They were jumpy but their joyful selves. A friend of mine wrote to me with a quote from Brecht: “In the dark times will there also be singing? Yes. There will also be singing. About the dark times.” So I grabbed a guitar from the music room, put the lyrics on the board, and we began by singing “This Land Is Your Land,” with the little preface that we can all push the world in the direction we want to see it go because, well, it is our land.

Lightning Round
Neighborhood
: Kensington.
Children: Two. “I just started talking about the election to my 6-year-old daughter. She told me elections are boring, and the news about the new W train is exciting.”
Currently reading: The Headmaster, by John McPhee.
Currently watching: Curb Your Enthusiasm. “Fifteen years late.”
Favorite restaurant: Mooncake.

*This article appears in the November 14, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.

The History Teacher Who Sings With His Students