Thursday, November 06, 2008

I hope my friend, Jennifer, doesn't mind me reposting from her blog. She's an elementary school teacher at a Catholic school, and this was posted the morning after the election. I thought it was interesting enough (and awful enough) to pass along:

"So it is real. Barack Obama will be our next president. I was so happy this morning when I saw the cover of the newspaper.

I went to school with a spring in my step and hope for the future. One of my boys came skipping in smiling. He immediately asked me if I had heard that Obama won. I laughed and said no I had not heard that. Then he laughed and said I know you did! It was cute. So half the class was excited and half was disappointed. I have not voiced any opinion either way. They do not know who I voted for - only that I am happy it is over. And so it happened that before the bell even rang I had students in tears.

One of the kids had said that Obama is a Muslim and that Muslims kill people. Another said that Obama wants to kill babies and a girl told a boy whose father is a Marine that his dad kills people. So rather than being able to highlight the historic moment of having the first African American president and talking about how anyone in America could become president, I had to focus on the need for understanding and tolerance. Once everyone was calmed down we went on with our school day.

After school I talked with a few of the parents about what their kids had said. The principal offered to come and talk to my class, but we decided it would be better to have Father Michael come. He will be in my room next Friday talking about tolerance and other faiths.

Kids are the future and usually I am surprised by their insight and kindness, but today was a rough one for me. To come to work with such hope for the future and then to have my students saying such hurtful things to each other was hard. Although we have come a long way, we still have work do to and it will not be easy. Already people are praying that Obama does, in fact, become president and that he is not assassinated. There have already been death threats and in Portland there was a cardboard cutout of Obama hanging from a tree on a college campus. I hope that we can live up to the promise of the future, that we can end the divisions and come together as Barack said in his speech last night - that we are more than red or blue states, that we are the United States and yes we can. We have no other choice."


Anonymous Jamie said...

This is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking. And I'm sure, as a teacher, she's not allowed to correct the children in the way that she wants.

I think this proves it...
Republicans should not be allowed to procreate.

(Just kidding!!!)

2:37 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

As a teacher I am limited with what I can say to kids... not like I can say where did you hear that and your parents are idiots. I can and did say he is not a muslim and muslims do not kill people and we spent about 45 min on it and watched a movie about the muslim religion and the kids saw other kids at a muslim school in the movie. Today we talked about Veteran's day and that we need to honor those people who defend our freedoms. It was much better today. Although I can't correct the parents or lecture them on their behavior, the priest can and will. That is a plus of being in a Catholic school.

3:31 PM  
Blogger LA said...

I'm speechless.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

When I was in 3rd grade, the token Jehovah's Witness told a number of us that we were all going to hell because we celebrated holidays.

Kids say more stupid things than cute things.

4:20 PM  

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