Aftermath of Elections: Teachers Respond

Several teachers told us that, after the American elections, their students came to class dismayed, some even close to tears. Many felt betrayed, and expressed a feeling that their generation is going to have to live in a world that is becoming more and more unsafe and unsustainable.

We asked teachers what they did on the morning after the elections.

We observed different cases all along a spectrum of choices teachers can make.

Some teachers did nothing. They told students they would not talk about it and went back to their class or lectures as usual. Other teachers felt too despondent to act although they felt they should do something and they felt they needed as much support as their students. The choice to ignore the event may not be helpful: needless to say students who are upset cannot follow and won’t remember much from the course.

Others decided to lead activities with their students the day after, putting aside the curriculum or syllabus for a while. We decided to promote activities that propose to take some time to help learners – and teachers- to realize how we all have a shared responsibility when it comes to living democracy.

We all need to get better at listening to one another. Love more than hate. Ask questions more than make assumptions. Reject polarization. Promote critical thinking. Give voice to the voiceless. Challenge yourself and question your own views. We will get through this if we stick together.

D.D., music teacher, NY, USA

So what can we actually do as educators? Of course it will very much depend on the age of the learners. Click on the tabs for some ideas.

Resources:

  • An article from the Huffington Post ‘What to tell the children?”
  • Compasito” includes dozens of activities for the very young,  and it’s partner “Compass” focuses on youth.
  • See also our blog: ‘Building Rapport’
  • Tolerance.org offers a wealth of resources for teachers of all subjects… we found this activity particularly interesting.

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