I was struck by the inescapable predicament teachers around the country are facing. Elections have always been about winners and losers, but this time it's different - very different.
This time we’re not talking about the garden variety agony of seeing your team come up short.
The feelings swirling around our communities are not the classic dejection of seeing hopes for the future temporarily deferred.
We're talking about the kind of loss, pain, and fear that a teacher can't resolve by simply hugging kids, and whispering a few platitudes -- “don’t worry, everything is going to be okay.”
We're talking about a loss that brings, real, stark, existential threats to some of your students and their families. Threats that many of us cannot begin to fully understand. For most of us, life will go on business as usual. Others fear the long impending nightmare has begun.
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It seems that teachers are routinely being forced to deal with more than they expected when they signed up for the job. As we all wait to see how the post-election dust will settle, I get to work safely secluded in my office. I don’t have to face the public dissonance unfolding across the country, mask my real feelings before peers and students, or be responsible for assuring kids about things, I’m not sure about myself.
I hear the pain and helplessness some teachers feel as they wade into this milieu. I grasp the tightrope many of you feel you are walking - some hiding your distress, others concealing your glee as you interact with your students. I sense how conflicted many of you feel as you try to reconcile the many diverse responses to the election that are all colliding in your classroom. Sadly, "this sucks" is the most thoughtful response I can muster.
I’m grateful to Rae Pica for taking the initiative to reach out to teachers and experts about how you can respond to this stressful and difficult demand we've all placed on you. I hope you find the thoughts and strategies they share below useful.