Philly education contains many levels. With such a diversity of peoples, Philadelphia classrooms become a microcosm of the larger U.S. When our classrooms start feeling like the “real world,” we must find a way to help our students process the tensions they feel. One ARG teacher did just that in her Center City charter school classroom.
Two students came into my room in tears. It spread through our class like wildfire. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Donald Trump” they responded. The world had entered our classroom. The alarm and distress my 2nd graders - mostly black, some immigrants, many Muslim - felt was palpable. It had been building in the months leading up to the election and, on this November 9th, it had come to a head.
My belief and approach is that education provides students a better understanding of their world. It helps them build an informed worldview so they can navigate their journey. I strive to present my students with a multitude of experiences, aiming to arm them with the tools they need for success in work, relationships, and other aspects of life.
However, there are times I wonder, “Is this worth it? Do they care about this topic? Are they even listening?” Yet, time and again my students surprise me with the connections they make and how they apply their learnings to their life in such remarkable ways.
A recent incident this year illustrates my belief and approach.