As a son of immigrants, I have lived the exceptional opportunities America provides. As a Social Studies teacher, I have praised the uniqueness of the 240 year democratic experiment that is America.
On Election Day, November 8, 2016 I began to question my faith in America.
My questions soon turned to self-doubt as to whether I had truly taught my students how to question, reason, or listen well. I doubted my effectiveness as a teacher. I doubted the effectiveness of my entire profession.
Whether these doubts are valid or just a misguided attempt to make sense of the world we now live in, I do not know. I can only do what I know how to do and try to do everyday: observe, reflect and plan.
On November 8, 2016 I vowed to relentlessly strive to teach students how to:
- Demand evidence and clear reasoning when evaluating arguments–especially those made by politicians.
- Define their core values, live by them and have the courage to not compromise them–even if their peers or other charismatic figures do otherwise.
- Empathize with and stand up for others–especially the most marginalized among them.
Yet, it doesn’t feel sufficient for me to strive to do better just for my students. The challenge is too large for it to be surmounted alone. All I can do is toss my pebble of pain, doubt and conviction in the pond of my profession hoping the ripples reach far beyond my classroom.
NOTE: Here is a list of resources to help you discuss the election results with your students.