People that supported Trump are having to navigate the assumption that they hate women, people of color, immigrants, and anyone else that isn't a white male. People that didn't support Trump are having to navigate increased anxiety, fear, mistrust of people and systems they used to believe in, and uncertainty about the future.
Some of these feelings always follow elections, but there is something much more difficult and disturbing about this one.
There are TONS of people that will contribute to this discussion much more effectively and eloquently than I can, but I'd like, for a moment, to focus on kids and schools. Being a social studies teacher, part of the responsibility is to facilitate understanding of the system. With that comes guidance on how to interact with that system. This election has made things increasingly difficult. Why does the electoral college exist? How can someone get more votes and lose? Do you agree with the protesters or not? How did this happen? These are just a few of the questions that came out of my classroom this past week. Some of these questions are extremely difficult to answer, especially now.
The nastiness of the campaign rhetoric this season has trickled down to our students. How do we heal the rift that has been formed? Education is part of the solution. I don't mean education on which side is right or wrong. I mean education on how to challenge the system.
You can "respect the office" and still disagree with the things that the officeholder says. You can work to change the system while still being a "proud American." Being a patriot isn't mutually exclusive with being a critic.
If there is any lesson to come out of this election it is that participation is critical. Being angry via social media isn't the same thing as showing up to vote against someone you think poses a legitimate threat to the fabric of our country. Staying home is not an option when determining the future of a nation. Millions of people thought that is was. Change is only possible through action and that is what we have to instill in our students. It's not just about believing what is right, but it is standing against what is wrong that is important.
As a teacher, it feels terrible when I don't have all the answers. It feels even worse when I have to calm the fears of another when I haven't calmed my own. There is nothing more clear that the only direction is forward. I choose to act, not to sulk. We have to continue fighting for the America that we all deserve to have. Our kids and our country can't and won't survive our inaction. We owe it to them to speak up and speak out.
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Discussing Current Events in Dallas and Dallas ISD Schools
DISD and Dallas Education Rundown - November Week 1