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The Day After

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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. 

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: What I’m Working on the Day After the Election – dy/dan

  2. Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist

    This sounds great, and I’m glad you were able to do it for all your classes today. In my class I started with “How are you guys doing? I’m not doing too well.” Then I told them about how I was glad my two older children stayed up with me last night so I wouldn’t have to tell them about the election in the morning. Unfortunately I did have to tell my youngest son, though. It was uncomfortable for me to be so vulnerable in front of my students but I’m glad I did it. We ended with some levity: “We need to lift each other up. I’m available for hugs or whatever. Ok, let’s take a quiz!” They laughed and I felt better.

    My #NaBloCoMo question for you: For me this is much more personal and vulnerable than I usually am with my students. How does doing what you did help you teach your students better?

    • I had a long drive and was able to think about your comments.

      And I’d venture with: why did you tell me about your family? We’ve never met, but for some reason, it helps. It’s good to know that we’re not alone, and that we’re all working through stuff.

      For my students, I hope that I was modeling how it’s okay to be confused or angry. But then we also have to keep going. And I talked about that it’s totally okay to just *feel* for a day or so, but then we have *do*. And that it’s not actually okay to resign yourself to “RIP America” (which a couple of students wrote on my board, and I had them erase it), because it’s actually kinda selfish and a dead-end. And I hope that I was modeling that I care about them as individuals and as a group, and that they should also care for each other.

      It’s not teaching in my content area, but I hope that it shows kids one way to be civil, maybe help them to continue being good people.


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