Fifty years ago this week, Harper Lee published "To Kill a Mickingbird" and in doing so introduced the world to Atticus Finch, the lawyer who stood up against racism in the 1930's in a small Southern town. He did so not because he wanted to make a statement or move on to bigger and better things, but because he felt it was the right thing to do for the defendant (Tom Robinson) and his own conscience.
Recently there have been those who have stated that Atticus' methods would not work today because they are not forceful or vocal enough to be heard. If the novel were written or published today, maybe he would have held a one hour special on CNN (or Oprah?) and announced his intentions to actually defend Tom Robinson even though most believed he should not?
But I doubt it.
Atticus firmly believed in himself and allowing the opinions of others the respect they deserved. He didn't force his opinion on others via shouting matches or violence. He choose to do what was right and allow that to speak for his beliefs knowing that it was the best thing for his client and the society as a whole.
Even though many changes have taken place since the publication of the novel there may be a lesson to be learned from Atticus' method. While we can use social media to help spread word of the great things going on in education, we should concentrate on what's important in our own classroom for our students.
(spoiler alert! :)) Atticus expectedly loses the case in the novel but his defense and the trial has created a slight ripple in the town that had been well entrenched in racism. The question that follows is this: will that ripple we create in our classroom be enough?