Last week a school district colleague shared a beautiful letter her 9th grade daughter Emma had written for a homework assignment: Write a persuasive essay on a topic you care about. Emma chose the topic of equal rights for women – on a global scale. She wrote her essay in a letter format, addressed to President-elect Trump.
The English teacher was actually on maternity leave, so the assignment came via a long-term substitute teacher. But Emma’s letter was too timely and too well-written to not have an authentic audience, an audience beyond just the teacher. I shared with my colleague the National Writing Project’s Letters to the Next President website. Of all the phenomenal projects and communities the NWP sponsors, Letters to the Next President has to be one of the most timely.
Last Wednesday, Teachers Teachers Teachers, a group led by Paul Allison (New York City Writing Project), discussed the topic of Teaching and Learning in a Time of Trump in their weekly Google Hangout.
In addition to addressing some immediate community actions/reactions in the days following the election, the panel also discussed the need for teaching media literacy. Links to referenced articles are posted on the site.
I am very grateful for an exponentially growing support group for “teaching and learning in a time of Trump” – with the NWP at the top of my list. I also want to recogize Harvard’s Project Zero: Children as Citizens project as as a second global microphone for students.
From my own region (northern California), I’d like to acknowledge Sacramento City Unified for stepping up to be the first school district in the greater Sacramento region to approve a resolution declaring Sac City a safe haven for students who may be “fearful of deportation and hate speech.” The resolution is in response to the “intolerant rhetoric made over the course of the 2016 presidential race.”
As the January 20 Inauguration Day fast approaches, a quote from Teachers Teaching Teachers panelist Dianca London continues to resonate with me: “Apathy is not an option anymore.”
Note: Featured image is licensed Public Domain