I don't know how you have been handling your students' feelings after the election, but I discussed it in my class on Friday. I began the discussion by saying
I have been reading a number of things about teachers asking their students about how they feel after the election, and I just wanted to open up the discussion to you. After 9/11, I didn't know what to do so I just taught my lessons and didn't even discuss the incident. Students came to me saying that they felt cheated because they didn't have a chance to share and deal with their feelings. I don't want to do that this time so do any of you have feelings that you want to share? This isn't a discussion about politics. It is about feelings.
Some of my students shared some deep feelings of fear and anxiety. Some of those who didn't feel threatened still felt anxiety. Some students felt that some of the reactions we heard about on the news (i.e., closing down a college so that students could deal with the results of the election) were not the reactions of adults and that we just had to deal with it.
It was a good discussion and we talked until they had nothing else to say. I shared that I was available if anyone wanted to talk. I think that it was a positive experience.
I was prompted to write this email after reading a posting on Jennifer Gonzalez's blog, The Cult of Pedagogy. She decided that the best thing to post a "To Do List" of things that teachers can do in a situation like this.
I recommend reading, After the Election: A To-Do List, and maybe sharing it with your students. BTW, this is a wonderful blog filled with posts, podcasts, videos, and teaching materials that you may find useful in your everyday teaching - I know that I have.
What are your experiences?
What suggestions do you have about dealing with these emotions?
Share them in the Comments section below.