Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Disclaimer: I was hesitant to write this post, not because I don't believe in it, I do. I just don't usually talk politics. I am today. If you'd rather not read it, I totally respect your opinion and feel free to skip this post. I think it's important that we begin talking, respectively. This is my step forward. Thanks for understanding. 

The morning after. Still a beautiful world. 
Well, today was rough. This election year has been unlike any in my voting history, which is 24 years long. I've had candidates I've voted for get into office, and others haven't. I've voted for Republicans and Democrats. I've been bummed and disappointed in the past, but not scared. 

And I'm scared.

I'm also reflective. I've read posts on social media today that chided people to grow up, move on, accept the results and stop positing political crap. 

I get it. I really do. I think we are all beaten down by this looooooooonnnnggg election cycle. It's inane. I think we've had enough of the negativity, the name calling, the hate. 

But here's the thing - I voted for Obama twice. When people were posting on social media after the second election (I wasn't on social media after the first) and upset and frustrated that their candidate didn't get elected, I understood. I might not agree with their reasoning, after all I had voted for the other person, but I respected their right to do so. Today I feel like I'm constantly being told to be quiet. 

I hate that.

I'm not a complainer by nature. If you know me in person, I think I'm typically pretty positive. And while I get the desire to move on, please respect that some of us, over half the people that voted, are grieving. Give us a chance to catch our breath.

I had a friend question why I supported Clinton today. Clinton is not perfect, I know. However, I cannot look at my family and/or friends that are Muslim, Hispanic, or Black and vote for another candidate. To my friends and students that identify as LGBTQ, my heart breaks. I held a few of them today while they pulled themselves together. I worked hard to pull myself together.

Another friend asked me today if this would really be an issue at school. I had to pause to recover from the shock. I don't think the world has a clue what happens inside of the walls of our schools. As a teacher I have dried more tears than I think anyone can imagine. I've dealt with students who have lost much, who are a danger to themselves, who are hurting. I am not a social worker, but every. single. day. I am called to be one. To dismiss the toll it can take on a teacher is callous. I have cried and worried over more students than I can share. I think when you work hard to build close relationships with them, they come to you with even bigger burdens. This job is hard, but there is nothing I'd rather do.

From twenty-one years of experience, I know that after a presidential election there will be students who are upset, angry, frustrated. To make our classroom work, I have to meet them, comfort, and give words to help them move on. It doesn't matter if I voted for the candidate who was elected or not, this is my job to be there for my students. For what it's worth, I've never told my student who I'm voting for. They've always been split, tending to believe I support the same candidate they do. I'm not there to make them believe what I believe, I'm there to love them and teach them. That's what we do.

Teachers will be the ones dealing with the fallout from this election. Whether you voted for Trump, Clinton, or a third party candidate, know this. A teacher dried the tears of a child worried about the color of their skin today and how they fit in this country. A teacher hugged a child today and explained that their parents' marriage was still recognized in this country. A teacher comforted another child who was targeted with hate speech for their support of Clinton. A teacher sent homework home for a student afraid to come to school today. I know this because I've talked to these teachers and heard their frustration today. 

We are here. We will keep teaching kids. I will teach them to come together to support our new president because he will be our leader. We must listen to each other. We are hurting - on both sides of the political aisle. This election is a statement. There are people I love that voted for Trump and people I love who voted for Clinton. We need to remember how to have discourse. We need to look for common ground, and we will. But don't belittle one another. Don't degrade each other for mourning this election results. 

Today I taught seventy-five students. Looking in their beautiful faces, I see the potential of our country. I was reminded of the good in each other. We are all human. We need to take care of each other. Now is the time. Please be kind.

This video today from John Green is well done if you are interested.