I am a retired teacher, having taught high school English for 32 years, 27 of those years in Iron County School District.
Your premise, the quote, “Great teachers should not be made sacrificial lambs on the altar of political correctness” is right on. I certainly agree with the supporting example of the teacher using the movie and educating the historical context of the N-word.
As you can well imagine, that is a scenario with which I am well familiar: teaching literature and providing context to language usage and thematic issues. Most obvious was teaching “Huckleberry Finn.” I read a lot of Twain’s novel out loud in class; the dialect is challenging. Reading the N-word out loud almost killed me. I spent two class periods preparing the students and explaining the time period/ Twain’s intent/ etc., but that is a teacher’s job. Educate the usage.
I hope that Mr. Barker stays engaged in the struggle; it’s real. We need teachers like him. And we need opinion writers like you.