Teacher’s experiences on US Election 2016

Take a moment to read some experiences shared by three teachers before and after the recent elections.

After the results had been released, a National Association of School Psychologists’ document that provides guidance for making the school environment safe and supportive for all students was circulated by district officials. The guidelines include fostering respectful dialogue, discussing the importance of respect for the American democratic process and helping students manage strong emotions. Counseling staff was available for students, according to Smoler.

Jim D’Acosta, a social studies teacher at Fairfield Warde High School, said this was the most disturbed he has seen his students following an election in his nearly three decades of teaching. He, therefore, took time in addressing some of the issues in class. He observed that his students were short on sleep, very anxious and very disturbed, and looking for leadership. He, however, saw the safe atmosphere in school as an important venue to address events, such as this year’s presidential election. D’Acosta decided his priority as a teacher was to help calm the extreme emotional climate on the day after the election. He allowed each of his students to share what they had heard and their opinions on issues concerning the elections that declared Donald Trump as the winner. “My students were well aware of the positions that the campaign exposed nationally. We’re a blue state and primarily a blue town, so the huge surprise of the Trump victory had especially our Democratic-leaning students upset,” he said. “The students were shocked and surprised, and their nerves were rattled.”

Warde’s Amy MacIntosh, another U.S. history teacher, always coordinates her classes’ lessons on elections to correspond with Election Day each time. She teaches on the three arms of government, elections, and parties while incorporating current events and news. A particular difficulty she saw among her students, this year was trying to identify whether or not what they had heard were from credible sources or not.
MacIntosh said that students usually gain more interest in such topics during elections but found this season to be the most enthusiastic she has seen students in a dozen years teaching the A.P. government course.
“This election has got kids in all areas of the school more interested in government and politics than ever before,” MacIntosh said. After the presidential election was called, the following 48 hours were emotional for many students, with some happy and some sad. She addressed the results by keeping a positive tone in class and focusing on the power of the president under the U.S. Constitution, as well as the checks-and-balances system. She had a great dialogue with kids of all political persuasions and kept it focused and positive.

Smoler, a math teacher at Warde, said teachers, in addressing the election, do not share their personal opinions but rather focus on their job to bring about healthy discussions in especially social studies, language arts, and history classes.

Based on http://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/news/article/Teachers-take-on-2016-election-in-the-classroom-10633430.php

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Derek Turner