Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 14
For Teachers, Hard Conversations Are Just Getting Started
Worries About 'Trump Effect'
In recent months, educators have
pointed out a "Trump effect" in schools:
a spike in anxiety among students of
color, particularly immigrant students
and students from immigrant families,
which teachers have attributed to the
Republican candidate's inflammatory
words about Muslim and Mexican
immigration. Teachers say they fear
an uptick in racially or ethnically motivated bullying. And indeed, in the
days after the election, some educators
have already reported instances of students telling their Hispanic peers that
they will be deported, or their Muslim
peers that they are not welcome in the
"What do you tell kids about
being a bully when the president
is a bully?" said Torres, who is also
an opinion blogger for Education
Week Teacher. "What do you tell
kids about mocking disabled people
when he has done that?"
RaShawna Sydnor, who teaches
6th to 8th graders in Baltimore, said
her students were "astonished" that
Trump was elected president after
his sexually crude or derogatory
comments about women and allegations that he had committed sexual
"They are troubled by the idea
that a man who has these attributes
could be the president. Some of the
things he does, they could get in
Nick Oza/The Arizona Republic via AP
feelings about the election's outcome.
For many educators, that seems
like a hefty task after the long, bitter
campaign season. And while there
are certainly teachers who supported
Trump, many others said they were
reeling from the outcome themselves
while trying to comfort their students.
"I normally draw a big sense of hope
from my kids. Even when the world is
awry, being a teacher gives me a lot of
hope," Christina Torres, who teaches
7th and 9th grades in Honolulu and
who supported Democrat Hillary
Clinton, said the day after the Nov. 8
election. "I think today, that's going to
have to be my job. That feels like a big
ask of my own heart.
"[Teachers need to give students]
space to process, space to be afraid,
space to love them, but we're going
to be the ones to help provide them
the tools," said Torres. "That just
feels hard today."
A victory by Clinton, which most
opinion polls had pointed to, would
have provided a ready-made lesson about the nation's first woman
president-the successor to its first
black president. The victory by
Trump, the tough-talking real estate mogul and political novice, told
a more complex tale about America
and its anxieties and aspirations.
While some teachers opted to
remain quiet about the election results, many said they felt they had
no choice. Students were deeply invested in this election, teachers said.
Jessie Sennett, a 5th grade
teacher on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, said her
students, who were "distraught,"
knew the results when they walked
into the classroom: "They didn't
have to be told, which is surprising,
because a lot of them don't have internet, TV, phones. But they knew."
Many teachers said they devoted
some class time on Wednesday to
reflection, via journaling, drawing,
Elizabeth Simison, who teaches
high school English in rural Colchester, Conn., said Trump won her
county by just 96 votes. That almosteven division made a conversation
with her students feel even more
She began each of her classes with
15 minutes of open discussion. Students were quiet at first.
Then, they started talking-questioning the Electoral College, voicing
fear for LGBT and minority communities, evaluating media biases, and considering the effect of the new president
on foreign and domestic policies. They
wondered how long it might take the
country to get back on track, and then
tried to define what "back on track"
"Just knowing that this is so important and giving students the
floor to embrace that and talk about
it in such a reasonable way felt really important to us," Simison said.
Latino students from Carl Hayden High School and other Phoenix-area
schools protest President-elect Trump as they walk toward the state Capitol.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
trouble for," said Sydnor.
That discrepancy bothered Anne
Gunden, an 8th grade teacher in Valley Center, Kan., so much that she
started crying in class on the day after
the election. Her students largely support Trump, she said, but she thought
it was important for her to tell them
that regardless of politics, mimicking
Trump's language is inappropriate.
"[I told them] I was struggling to
understand how on earth I would be
able to demand respectful communication from my students if they
were to have an elected leader who
uses such divisive rhetoric," Gunden
said in an email.
"I voiced my hope that we might
hear less of this kind of language
coming from Mr. Trump now that
he has been elected," she said, "but
I also pointed out that even if his
language doesn't change, it does not
make it OK to use in our classroom."
Ciara Miller, a 10th grade social
studies teacher in Pasco County,
Fla., had to defuse a confrontation
between two students-a Trump
supporter and a Clinton supporter-
the day after the election.
"I said, no ... we talk about how
much we want tolerance and expect
it from others," Miller said. She told
both students to be respectful of
other opinions. And she asked the
Trump supporter to consider that
students who supported Clinton
were hurting. It was at least an opportunity to teach students how to
handle conflict, Miller said.
In the weeks ahead, teachers
should focus on reassuring all students that they're safe, said Maureen Costello, the director of Teaching Tolerance, an educational project
of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
And, she said, teachers should
work to rebuild their own classroom communities while trying to
return to a sense of normalcy. "In
a sense, really echoing what the
president-elect has said [in his victory speech]: It's a time to come together," Costello said.
Kyle Redford, a 5th grade teacher
in Corte Madera, Calif., and an
opinion blogger for Education Week
Teacher, said she played Clinton's
concession speech for her students.
Upon viewing it, her students, who
were initially upset about Clinton's
loss, said they felt more encouraged
about the future and were willing to
give Trump a chance.
One student, Redford recounted in
an email, said: "Even if we are young,
we can still make a big change because we live in a democracy. We can
still fight for the things we believe in."
Teaching Tolerance's Costello said
teachers should now focus on encouraging their students to be active
citizens. "Voting is not the only thing
citizens do," she said.
Reminding students of the checks
and balances in government feels
particularly important, teachers
said. Deborah Gesualdo, a music
teacher in Malden, Mass., said she
has been reassuring her students of
a peaceful transition of power.
"I keep reminding them that no
matter who you support in an election, it's important to respect each
other," she said. "And I think we as
adults have to set that example, because we're seeing a lot of disrespect
in general in the country right now."
The role of education, teachers
said, will be especially important as
the country tries to move forward.
"How do we as a nation begin to
heal from here?" Torres, the teacher
in Hawaii, said. "There's never been a
more important time to be an American teacher."
Staff members Kavitha Cardoza,
Arianna Prothero, and Denisa R.
Superville and news intern Julie
Depenbrock contributed to this article.
Teacher Emily Silver helps
kindergartners at the Co-op
School, in New York City's
neighborhood, write letters
to mail to President-elect
Some reactions to the election
Having difficulty teaching
engagement, empathy, and
understanding when opposite traits
win the presidency.
My plan is to... 1. Give students a
safe place and time to debrief their
emotions. 2. Pose some thoughtful
and guiding questions. 3. Listen
My teaching plan for today includes
reminding #ELL Ss that our school
is always + forever a safe space for
them to learn, grow, be, do.
View a gallery of photos, and read a story
about kindergarten students at the Co-op
School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, N.Y., writing
letters to President-elect Donald Trump.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation supports coverage of policy, government and politics, and systems leadership in Education Week and on edweek.org. The Broad Foundations were established by entrepreneur and
philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science, and the arts. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 16, 2016
Education Week - November 16, 2016
Few Women Run School Districts. Why?
Trump’s Lesson Plan Awaited
A Day After Election, Classes Are Awash in Emotions
News in Brief
States Found to Offer 95 Kinds of Diplomas
Black Teachers Feel Pigeonholed On the Job, Report Says
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Eager to Innovate: African-American Teenagers and Technology
Positive Climates May Shrink Achievement Gaps
Q&A: ‘You Just Do the Work’
Proposed ESSA Spending Rules Encounter Stiff Resistance
Oklahoma Schools Chief Facing Campaign-Finance Charges
Sharp Questions Posed In Service-Dog Case
SNAPSHOT: Title IX and Transgender Students: Some Key Developments Over 44 Years
Governors and Schools Chiefs Results
Ed. Policy on Simmer as GOP Holds Congress
GOP Solidifies Hold on State-Level Leadership
State Ballot Measures
In Mass., Voters Shun More Charter Schools
Bilingual Education Set to Return to California Schools
Education Department May Again Find Itself in GOP Cross Hairs
Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Mostly Fall Short in Elections
SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON: To Decentralize or Not? Is That Even the Question?
JIM HAAS: Oh, the Humanity!
GREGG WEINLEIN: The School Friendship Challenge
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
GARY BEACH: Does the U.S. Department of Education Need to Be Restructured?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - A Day After Election, Classes Are Awash in Emotions
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 2
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 3
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - States Found to Offer 95 Kinds of Diplomas
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Black Teachers Feel Pigeonholed On the Job, Report Says
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Eager to Innovate: African-American Teenagers and Technology
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Positive Climates May Shrink Achievement Gaps
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 10
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 11
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Q&A: ‘You Just Do the Work’
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 13
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 14
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Oklahoma Schools Chief Facing Campaign-Finance Charges
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Sharp Questions Posed In Service-Dog Case
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - SNAPSHOT: Title IX and Transgender Students: Some Key Developments Over 44 Years
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GOP Solidifies Hold on State-Level Leadership
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - State Ballot Measures
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Bilingual Education Set to Return to California Schools
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 21
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Mostly Fall Short in Elections
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Senate/House Results
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON: To Decentralize or Not? Is That Even the Question?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - JIM HAAS: Oh, the Humanity!
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GREGG WEINLEIN: The School Friendship Challenge
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 29
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 30
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 31
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GARY BEACH: Does the U.S. Department of Education Need to Be Restructured?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW1
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW2
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW3
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW4