Yesterday was a physically and emotionally lethargic day for me, thanks to the combination of too little sleep, our election plot twist, and the energy draining combination of not enough Midol and too many "Teacher-teacher-teacher-teacher" demands. I only encountered one adult who thought that my classroom was the best place to share her relief that "our country will be getting back to the way it used to be now," the rest of my colleagues (regardless of how they voted) too professional, too busy, and likely too tired to bring that can of worms into the building, much less open it. I was grateful that none of my students came in parroting their parents' political jubilation or fear- many colleagues across the country didn't have it so lucky.
After painting my nails red and getting almost seven hours of sleep, I woke up, had some coffee, stole a pack of The Fifth Grader's Pop Tarts, and sat down to surf social media. Twitter, Yahoo News, CNN Breaking News updates, and FB friends and family made for an interesting and concerning mix.
Visceral responses don't bother me: I cry, shake, shout out in jubilation, laugh, and dry heave just like everyone else. I seek out like-minded educators and creative, inspiring, humorous souls, with whom I feel a sense of belonging, fulfilling the same human need that so many others have. Unlike a significant portion of fellow citizens however, I don't believe I'm entitled to inflict my beliefs upon others through threats, attempts at intimidation, or violence. Reading that in reaction to the results of the presidential election, former Super Stars were facing threats of violence or unwelcome wink-wink pats on the ass from their colleagues and employers, I found my disappointment turning to exasperation.
Too many of us have forgotten the lessons that we learned in kindergarten, and too many schools, districts and communities have allowed data and calendars mapping the timeline of academic rigor to fill the days of young children and their teachers. "Don't hit," "be fair, share," "apologize and ask if the other person is okay," "help, don't hurt," "wait your turn," "be a good listener," and "use manner words" are all lessons that are only turned into intrinsic behaviors with time and daily opportunities for young children to learn and practice. These necessary skills and behaviors make sharing spaces and places with diverse community members possible, just as much as reading and math acumen. Diversity is the rule, not the exception, no matter how "icky" that apparently makes many Americans feel.
Please keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourselves.
Use your inside voice.
... and always follow the teacher's directions.