On the last exam I ask as a bonus question what that student learned that was most interesting or how their perception of history changed after taking the course. Many of them reveal how they liked learning about the First Ladies, how important the vote was, random trivia, or the significance and breadth of women's role in the historical process.
This time around one student wrote something to the effect of "I always thought the U.S. only intervened in other places when it wanted to help them, but now I know they don't really do anything unless they'll get something out of it. I love my country, but it's done some horrible things."
This young man swore into the military in the course of my class. To be honest, I'd much rather be the teacher that empowers and excites students about all the good things in history and their lives. But sometimes the best lessons are the hard ones, the ugly ones, that change the way we think about the world we live in. Hopefully, those lessons spur us toward change.
If we don't know injustice and walls exist, we can't resist them.