Wednesday, November 9, 2016

First Day, Post Election 2016

It's been a challenging day... a draining day in education.

Planning a faculty meeting three weeks ago for the first morning post election was a good move. Regardless of the outcome... I figured we needed time to have a discussion prior to students arriving. I certainly did this morning.

I offered the following and then we had an incredible discussion.

We could talk all day about who won, how it happened, why and our personal beliefs about it all.


The messages relayed in this President Elect's campaign draw deep concern in me as a father, husband, and educator... and as a human being.

There's a simple message here...

We want our students to know that we care for them. All of them.

Many students will be apprehensive today. Some will be scared. Some may be brash. Some will be uncertain. Some silent. Some, worse I think... simply won't care.

Many kids, and adults for that matter, don't feel safe as a result of the hateful rhetoric in this election.

In all cases... we need to relay a simple message.

Our students need to know they are safe and supported here. All of them.

We will not accept the hate that took place in this election regarding different ethnicities, sexual orientation, faith, physical disabilities, or the the objectifying and degradation of women.

Discussing it openly is educational. Silence... pretending this doesn't exist is not educational after all. Silence on these matters won't improve our society.

I encourage you to open this up today in class with your students.

Facilitating discussions in class is on this... will be a challenge. I encourage you to open the conversation with kids and see where it goes. Be open to what they need. Be open, honest about your feelings... and make your expectations about ethical and moral guidelines of how we conduct ourselves clear. That's my best advice.

We want all of our students to know that there is no place for bullying, hazing or harassment here.

We want students to know we can help them unpack all these emotions and find a path.

This is not a 'one and done' conversation. Should the campaign promises of this President-Elect hold true, the challenges for kids and adults will be constant. We need to have an ongoing discussion promoting a broader understanding of empathy.

Beyond curriculum coverage and standardized testing goals... it's reinforced yet again that we need to discuss empathy at a much broader level in education... throughout the entire United States.

Your discussions on this today, with kids and peers... can help start moving that important message.

We have a lot of important work to do in education.