‘I’m sorry,’ but are you really?

| September 9, 2020 12:30 AM

As a world traveler who has taught overseas in countries such as Morocco, Columbia Falls English and French teacher Jeanette Price continually seeks to connect her students with the outside world. That belief system made her a perfect match in joining a cohort of 60 teachers from around the nation who were selected to participate in the inaugural year of the New York Times Teaching Project. The Teaching Project was born from the New York Times’ Learning Network, an online educational resource which has offered content to students and educators for over two decades, much of it free.

As more and more teachers began reporting the ways in which they used Learning Network resources in their classrooms, the Times decided to launch a program starting this year that would, “bring together a community of excellent educators like these to share ideas and best practices,” according to an online article published by the newspaper.

Price, who follows the New York Times on social media, had seen the Teaching Project heavily publicized early this year and decided to apply.

In May, Price learned she had been selected from hundreds of applicants to participate in the project which involved a three day online symposium held in July. The intent was to collaborate and share expertise with other teachers, develop a new teaching project for their classrooms, and get an insider’s look at the workings of the Times.

Throughout the symposium the project Price developed was titled, “So Sorry: The Modern Role of Apologizing (or Not) in Public and Private Contexts,” in which she hopes to have students “critically analyze the rhetoric of apologies and appraise their effect today where cancel culture and #sorrynotsorry coexist.”

Price will draw from articles, songs, podcasts, and poetry like William Carlos Williams “This Is Just to Say,” to examine the rhetoric of apologies through a variety of angles. She plans on having students examine the differences between private, personal apologies and public ones, often given as public relations stunts. She hopes to have students dissect the type of language that conveys sincerity and authenticity and to analyze how apologies may change depending on whether they are written or spoken.

She will teach the project as a short unit in her junior English class that she will then be able to reference and return to throughout the year.

Price develops a finalized curriculum of the project to present to the cohort later this year, in hopes that it may get published to the New York Times Learning Network to be accessed and taught by any teacher around the nation.

If the Teaching Project continues into the future, Price hopes to be a resource for any teacher from the state who may be interested in participating.

“I’m hoping this becomes something that the New York Times does every year,” said Price. “And if another Montana teacher were interested, I would like to help them with their application, because I think there needs to be more representation. There’s got to be at least someone from Montana next year.”