I’ve certainly taught on difficult days before. Because of construction, the opening of the school year in London was postponed so one of our first days was September 11, 2001. I remember the day after the Columbine shootings that my 3rd period class pleaded for normalcy.
I have taught on wonderful days as well. I sat with lower school students as they watched Obama get inaugurated for the first time. When the inauguration crowd was asked to rise, the students rose as well (only to be told to be seated by their teachers).
Today, though, is a unique day. I stayed up for as long as I could. I discovered the result – the one I anticipated at the end of my night – when I woke up this morning. I woke up early. I wanted to figure out how to tell our children.
At school, I spoke to the Government teacher, whose approach unfortunately had to be muddled by official observations and the like. I suggested to the Principal that he write something to the staff. He did (whether it was based on my suggestion, I neither know nor care). Mostly, I just wanted to listen. The students wanted to know who I voted for; I told them. They wanted to know what I thought. I deferred until time and space allowed. Once a week, we hold Talking Circles. It was supposed to be today. Wisely, I think, we postponed it until tomorrow. The students (100% of students of color) were aware of both facts and rumors. I tried to help with the facts. A colleague related an account of having to deal with another colleague who is celebrating the result.
This has, for the most part, been a day to get through. But I need to recover, to demonstrate just a fraction of the resilience our students will need. We have to look o this as an opportunity. I’m just not sure how. I could use some suggestions.