My classroom and school is a sacred, safe place, especially during a caustic election cycle

Posted on 11.08.2016

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I’ve spent the better part of the past hour and a half writing my around this blog the night before the election… and then revisited this post after a full day at school.  (I think I am out of practice – it’s been well over a year since I’ve wrote on this thing!)

A classroom should be a sacred place where students and teachers alike can safely explore, grow and experiment. This space, the classroom, is a where I’ve found is the most productive place to work through difficult moments of the 2016 election.

It is hubris to think that ‘life outside of school’ does not seep into classroom space and into the learning environment.

As the 2016 election nears the culminating voting day, I can’t but feel apprehensive about how it has, and will effect the learning space of my classroom and my community.

My message is simple: we can’t shy away from the difficult work of making sure our communities, and our classrooms stay safe and sacred places where exploration, experimentation and love flourish. I am worried about the outcome of the election, sure, I’d love to see Hillary Clinton win. BUT I AM MORE CONCERNED WITH HOW OUR COMMUNITY TREATS EACH OTHER AFTER THE ELECTION IS OVER.

We should not shy away from our anxiety about the election, and about how it has effected our lives and our relationships with each other. Leading up to the election, and after, I hope we combat this negative energy by holding, productive, caring and thoughtful conversations with whomever we can.

At times, we may need to rant and vent our frustration or happiness; I get that. AND, we should also be mindful that others may be hurt by our words or actions.  It’s important to acknowledge this as we maintain a sacred and safe classroom. I also try and encourage our conversations to move from what we feel to what more thoughtful reflections and analysis.

From emoting to thinking to ultimately, action.

In the past, I’ve worked hard to make my room a space where empathy comes first during these conversations. I encourage students to make reasoned statements using the word “I” at the beginning. The ground rules are always the same: Model your behavior on how you WISH the candidates treated each other and this election.

Regardless, I’m still very vigilant about the state of our community; it’s clear that many people feel very strongly about each candidate and it is so important that we work hard to productively discuss this very caustic election cycle.

As people went to the polls today, I took time in class to talk about expectations for November 9th and beyond. I want to make sure that my classroom continues to be a sacred and safe place. As I watch the news tonight, I can’t but think about no matter who wins, I want to make sure my room stays sacred and safe.

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Posted in: Ed-talk