I, like many of us, am feeling stressed by tomorrow’s election – I just can’t fathom how our country would re-elect Donald Trump. Of course, I couldn’t fathom how he could be elected the first time, either.
But, in terms of my classes, the reality is that it’s not about me. It’s about them.
And I have to have a plan about what to do on Wednesday.
I’m not too concerned about what do if it’s a Biden landslide. In that event, I’ll be having students share how they feel, and it’s safe to say that our student body of 99% of students of color will be in a celebratory mood. I’d love to hear ideas from educators about activities to do in this situation – and I bet teachers in red states would love to hear advice on what they should do in this situation.
The real question for me is how to handle things if President Trump wins re-election or if it’s still not clear who will be the next President.
The last time around, many of our students were in a state of shock and fear. They channeled it into writing letters to Trump, many which were published in The Washington Post (see ‘Dear President-elect Trump’: Immigrant students write letters asking for ‘the opportunity to demonstrate we are good people.’).
If it happens again, I’m wondering if – after giving students an opportunity to share their feelings – I should tell the story a veteran of India’s fight for independence told me many years ago – that “the key to Gandhi’s success was that he looked at every problem as an opportunity, not as a pain-in-the-butt” – and follow that up with some lessons I’ve previously done on “active citizenship” (see The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship , The Best Resources Sharing The History Of Teens Organizing For Justice and “Best” Lists Of The Week: Active Citizenship).
If the election results are not clear, and you’re teaching history, it’s unlikely you’ll find better advice than in this new Education Week piece, What I’ll Say to My History Class If There’s No Clear Winner on Election Night. The Day After Election Guide offers some decent supplemental resources.
Teaching the 2020 Election: What Will You Do on Wednesday? is from Teaching Tolerance.
Post-Election Support for Difficult Conversations is from Facing History.
Teaching Tolerance offered some thoughts in a four-year-old piece, The Day After.
This Instagram slideshow could be useful:
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I personally hate living in the grey area. The moments when I feel the most anxious are when I’m in anticipation of something to come, but it hasn’t happened yet. These slide decks were created to support all of you and your students in navigating the potential uncertainty of the days and weeks to come. One provides conversation support in the case of a negative outcome, and the other gives context for the case of an unknown outcome. . I figured that no one will really be in a headspace to lesson plan or probably think very much, so I hope these help in some way. (A note that I’ll probably continue to tinker with these through Tuesday, so check back!) . There is a LOT of information in these slides. Use some of it, all of it, or focus on one part one day at a time. You can adapt this however you see fit. Please just remember that your job is to serve and support ALL of your students. As educators, we are responsible for teaching students HOW to think, not WHAT to think. . If you are not in a mental space to facilitate this conversation, DON’T. You can be honest with your students about how you’re feeling, but do not proceed if you need to tend to your own emotions. . You can access these desks for FREE via my Patreon (linked in bio.) If you’re financially able, please considering joining, as less than 1% of my IG community contributes to my work and folx investing in its longevity means so much to me. (This goes for all BIPOC educators and activists! If you’re consuming our content, are you also compensating?) If you’re a one-timer, please consider making a donation via Venmo or Paypal (@emkleinrock), and all funds raised this week will be donated to organizations supported by @movementvoterproject such as @blackvotersmtr @ourinstituto and @krclaorg
I’m adding this post to THE BEST RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ABOUT THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
What are your ideas?
Teaching poetry: “An American Sunrise” by Joy Harjo and “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes. Let the students hear both. The students lead as they share favorite lines, lines that resonate, themes, words or phrases that make them question or think. ❤️
— Holly Spinelli voted. 🤘❤️ (@HolSpinny) November 3, 2020
NEW – The Day After: How Do We Teach History Now? #sschat #edchat #civics #socialstudies @nche @NCSSNetwork @Larryferlazzo
Here’s how Sarah Cooper taught her 8th grade social studies class today, as the nation went about determining a presidential winner. https://t.co/i04xucPGv4 pic.twitter.com/JU26hGaUll
— MiddleWeb (@middleweb) November 4, 2020
The Election is Over… Now What? is from The Anti-Defamation League.
Let’s Talk! is from Teaching Tolerance.
Responding to the 2020 US Presidential Election is from Facing History.
You might also be interested in The Best Posts & Articles On How To Teach “Controversial” Topics.
Maintaining Strong Communities in Polarized Classrooms is from Teaching Tolerance.