Election Day was yesterday. Like many people in my local area, my students today were on edge and largely unbelieving about the results.
As each first bell rang, I shut the door and greeted each class, mostly like usual. But then I had to get things off my chest. I hadn’t slept well, in part stressing about what I could do with my students in the morning. We talked. I gave them permission to be angry or sad or happy or confused for today, because there’s a lot to process. And I told them that because I’m white with my background, my education, and my economic status, and how that means I have to help those who don’t have my privilege. And I encouraged them to help each other out, and even non-school people who may need help in the next few weeks and years. And I listed some groups of people for us to protect. And I encouraged all of them, who will be eligible for the next presidential election, to vote in four years because if nothing else, this election definitely shows that all votes matter on both sides. And a few students volunteered thoughts and ideas in class, and everyone was respectful and listened.
And a few students thanked me for saying all the things, which was flattering, but not why I did it. But the gratitude sure eased some of my pain.
A former colleague came back to school, just to give everyone hugs. Which was so welcome and necessary. Support networks are so important. Making these networks visible to those who don’t believe they have them is also important.
Work through it today. Tomorrow the real work begins.