I have written a lot about how hate and bigotry really bother me. I think in part that 1.) it bothers any decent human being and 2.) I’m an empath so seeing these types of hateful behaviors really has a physical impact on me.
When I tell people I avoid the news, often they tell me I’m being an irresponsible citizen or they continue to fill me in on every horrifying detail of a news story. Here’s the thing, I stay informed with little snippets sent to my phone from NPR, but I cannot fully immerse myself in a news story. Anyone who has known me for an extended amount of time knows that I’m sensitive and feel all emotions very deeply. All emotions, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m a very empathetic person and if I fully immerse myself in these stories or follow everything Trump does constantly, I would not be able to get out of bed.
I feel like this part of myself became even more amplified when I start teaching. Suddenly, I was absorbing the feelings and thoughts of 30 little people every day, 8 hours per day. And as a teacher, you are told to not show your political affiliations. In fact, at my school, it is specifically stated when you sign your contract for the year and it is in the handbook. Normally, this has been very easy for me. This past election, however, has made it incredibly difficult. Every day I walk into my classroom which contains students from Mexico, Congo, Ethiopia, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Somalia, and several more that I may not be aware of, and see and feel their fear every time something hate fueled happens in this country. They have questions and concerns that I am supposed to answer with “That’s a discussion to have with your family,” but they have not gone to their family they have come to me for help in navigating this scary time. A lot of times I cannot just try to pass it off, their parents are probably just as scared and confused as they are. They came to America looking for hope and freedom and now have been met with some terror. The terror that has been fueled by our own leader.
I realize now that my job is more important than ever. Every teacher’s job is. We must make sure that they feel smart, and loved, and safe every single day. We must be the face of peace and goodness to show them that it still exists and to provide them with hope. We are human, so this is not easy every day. We are tired and frustrated some days so, it is hard to be kind and loving all day every day. Yet we must try.
I would urge every adult, teacher or not, to really consider how they are presenting themselves to the children around them. It is more important now than ever to let your actions speak louder than words. Show humanity, love, and kindness in every interaction possible. Yes, we continue to see and hear horrible things but that is not the majority and more importantly, that was a learned behavior. I’m glad to have seen this quote floating around a lot lately, but I will include it here as well:
We are all teachers at this point. We need to teach love, especially to those who are showing love the least. Be an example to our children during this time. They hear you, they see you constantly. Be the light for them.