Monday, February 1, 2016

Slice of Our Freedoms

 
      I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today, and it's always good to read what everyone shares.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb. 

       Once in a while during this school year I have regrets about retiring. It happens in certain months, or with certain events. This time it's all about elections,  especially THE election process for the President of the United States. I loved sharing this time and the process, even that which many thought awful, with the students. There were numerous activities we did, various topics studied. We read books, learned about inspirational people who fought and gave their lives so they could vote. And we studied those who also fought in other countries for the right to vote. What I wanted more than anything for students to take away with them was the freedom we have to voice our opinions, and take those opinions to the polls. and translate them into votes. 



        I know that people groan and say things like "Oh, no, the rest of the year we'll see those ads, endlessly those ads." But what if you had to steal into the night to pass out fliers and feared for your life as you fought to share your ideas? And what if you were turned away because "they" said you couldn't vote because you couldn't pass the test? And what if you knew that you couldn't vote because you were a woman?  These are questions, with others, that we considered more than once, and it was a pleasure to watch students think about their lives and how they wanted to live them, and to help others carry on these freedoms. I will miss that this year, have avidly read all the news, am watching the Iowa news as I write. It's an exciting time in the United States.


32 comments:

  1. There's nothing like the energy of an election. I loved it too when I was a teacher but even without kids the energy is infectious.
    Digital bonnie :)

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    1. Well, hope you can tell I'm excited, Bonnie. What an interesting night last night!

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  2. I teach 6th grade and they are so funny! I have a kids who dislikes Donald Trump intensely and wrote a funny story featuring an evil mastermind named Tronald Dump. I overheard a table group arguing a few weeks ago. One girl was defending Trump, the others were challenging her opinion. I just listened, even through they were totally off task. It was fun to hear them articulate their ideas.

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    1. It can get heated, I know, but supporting their ideas and helping them learn to argue different points is fun. Glad to hear that girl stuck to her candidate. Thanks, Adrienne.

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  3. You would love being in my classroom this past week, Linda. I have a class of high schoolers that want to spend most of the time talking about what's happening in our state. They are serious, they are funny, they are paying attention to what's going on around them. Kids have gone to rallies and handed out fliers (and those stories are funny). I love that even though many of them won't be old enough to vote in November, they are still actively participating.

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    1. Sounds just wonderful, Deb. I know I'd love to be there. I love hearing about their enthusiasm!

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  4. You're right, Linda. No matter how much we complain about the process and dislike the candidates, it is truly a privilege to be able to voice our opinions freely and cast our vote for our preferred candidate.

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    1. Yes, it really is, Jane. I've only read about other countries where women, and others, don't have this right, or read our own sad history, but I am pleased that things are different today.

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  5. As a sixth retired sixth grade teacher election time was always an interesting time of year. Our student council would set up mock debates and elections for the student body. Many times in listening to the students, you could hear their parents talking.

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    1. And I had 6th, 7th & 8th & tried (diplomatically) to get them to see the issues and decide for themselves. I know what you mean, some didn't!

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  6. Yes, there are times I miss being with students and hearing their thoughts on topics too. I will try to endure the political ads with the thought that we have this freedom to select our representatives to govern and that is a privilege I don't take lightly.

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    1. Yes, no matter that some are a bother, it is so good that it can happen. Thanks, Elsie.

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  7. I am terrible but I avoid the subject entirely. A few years ago when Obama won, a student came in the room saying he should be shot. We are such an extremely red state and so many kids reflect back the terrible things their parents say, like "Clinton is stealing my parents' money." I have to bite my tongue. Now I just avoid the topic. Probably not the best way to handle it, but I have realized that my strong liberal opinions don't mix well around here.

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    1. I think you have to do what works best for the students, Margaret. If there's no room for a respectful discussion, then all you can do is share some history perhaps. Thanks for sharing what happens in a different place.

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  8. I loved teaching about what voting means and how hard people have had to fight to vote. It was always a tricky line when students voiced strong views from home - the balance can be hard as Margaret pointed out. This is one odd election cycle I must say - on both sides.

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    1. It is tricky, and we've had plenty of disagreement through the years. The fact that I did teach older students helped I think. This election year will be interesting for sure!

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  9. Yes it certainly is exciting Linda! Just hope . . . that what ever candidate wins the two parties can finally find some equal ground to get important issues taken care of!

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    1. I hope so too, Lynn. They seem to get a lot of satisfaction from disputing the other.

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  10. I have the perfect solution for you as November draws nearer. Why not volunteer in one of your granddaughters' classrooms on Election Day to do a mock election with the teacher?

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    1. What a good idea, Stacey, and Ingrid will be older which will be a good thing, too. Thanks, it is something I'll work toward!

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  11. Oh, I do enjoy election season. My kids have so many ideas, questions, and responses. One can never be jaded about democracy with company like this!

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    1. I know, it is a delight seeing what they're thinking and also what they want to know. Thanks, Tara.

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  12. It sounds like you really brought the election and the democratic process to life for your students.

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    1. I think everyone did in some aspect or another, Carol, depending on age, and in the presidential election year. Other election years we briefly discussed what was happening, especially for house & senate, Denver mayor or governor elections. It was fun to have such a broad topic to consider, from history to predicting.

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  13. This year's election seems to be especially interesting and filled with personalities, power, and political intrigue. I agree with Stacey.....make your way back into the classroom and share your experience and passion for the political process.

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    1. It's going to be quite a year, isn't it? Thanks for supporting the suggestion, Anita.

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  14. I love your positive, thoughtful, grateful attitude about the voting process, Linda! We could all use a little more of your viewpoint as we slog our way through all the negativity!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I really believe that this is our process, love it or hate it, but it's the freedom of it that makes me proud.

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  15. I love that you share what you miss after retirement. My team is teaching complex characters this month and I've been playing with ideas on how to connect the jockeying for power in Macbeth with the power plays of the election. i would have loved being in your class, Linda.

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    1. That would be wonderful, Lee Ann. There is so much to observe and learn during these months. Thanks.

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  16. Linda, being in Iowa was amazing this caucus season. I enjoyed talking to people who knocked on my door. And we had several! We couldn't even get in the parking lot to caucus! As an Iowan, I'm happy to host a trip to Des Moines for the caucus process, we'll park on the grass! Thank you for continuing to reflect on teaching and education. You remind me in the power of always learning and reflecting.

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    1. Wow, so wonderful that you were right there! I'll pass your offer on to my colleagues! I suspect I might always talk a bit about teaching, a big part of my life! It was nice to hear from you on your blog again! Thanks, Kendra.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!