In one of my buildings we are doing a research project about past presidents of the United States of America. The project is being taken on by third through fifth graders. Third graders are sweet and just handle the idea. "We are going to learn about presidents. Ok. Let's go!" In each of the 4th and 5th grade classrooms this project has been presented to so far, we have started off with discussions about respect for the Office of the President of the United States. This discussion has been driven by the fact that they want to argue about whether or not President Trump is a good president. And some of their comments make me hang my head in shame at the thought of what we as adults are modeling for our children.
I am not going to get into a discussion about what I think of our current president. I was told as a child that opinions, like tailbones, are common. Everyone has one and most of the time it should be sat on. I am sitting on my opinion of our current president.
This is, however, what I told my students. Every person who has taken office, I believe (truly), has done so in order to do a good job. Their intent is to make things better and even if you disagree with the manner in which they carry out their job you can learn something from them that will help you make a decision when the next presidential election rolls around. We need to remember that a person is only elected for 4 years, after those four years we have an opportunity to try again to get our preferred person into office. If it doesn't work out, then the person who is re-elected only has four more years and then that person HAS to leave office. We should never give up on a lifelong family member or a friend just because they feel differently about a temporary political policy or a politician.
So where does that leave us as adults when we disagree with our national/state/local leadership? I think it is absolutely appropriate to share who we want as president or senator or delegate (or any other position). In fact, I believe it is important that we do so. I also feel that we base it off of issues that are important to us and leave it at that when we are conversing with our children. It is absolutely appropriate to say that we are voting for John Smith because he is pro-life. We can also say that we are voting for Jo Smith because he is for intelligent gun control laws. What I strongly object to is when we attack the other party, especially in front of our children, by name calling and stereotyping. I also strongly object to lumping all voters who support the other candidate into that same stereotype. Come on now! Not every member of the Democratic party is a baby killer. Not every member of the Republican party is a racist money lover.
We need to do better than this when we are speaking to our children. They pay attention to our actions much more than our words. If I shared even half of the conversations that came out of this research project, we would all hang our heads in shame.
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler