I got all settled into my classroom for the day and looked over the notes and lesson plans the teacher had left for me. The first 20 minutes of the day are homeroom, now called Home Base. Sidenote: I've noticed that lots of things have been renamed since I was in school. For example, a quiz is now called a "check-up". Goofy! But, I digress. So, after I took role, the students were to work on homework or play games quietly as it's Friday. So far so good. Pretty soon, the loudspeaker came on and a woman announced, "Good morning, students! Please rise for The Pledge of Allegiance".
Then, just like something out of a North Korean war documentary, all of the students stood up, turned toward the flag, placed their hands upon their hearts and recited The Pledge of Allegiance. Wow. Just wow.
I've never really considered the act of reciting The Pledge of Allegiance at school before. But after being abroad, it's like I am seeing it as an outsider or foreigner - and it is freaky! Stop and think about it for a second. Every day, across America, students stand, place their hand on their heart and pledge their allegiance to the flag. They essentially worship the flag. It's the essence of militarism and nationalism. Isn't it?
This is not my first subbing job, far from it. But every single time students rise for The Pledge of Allegiance, I am totally surprised and weirded out by it. Have you ever given this any thought? What do you think?