Debate? or Brawl?

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Like many of you, I watched last nights debate.  As a social studies teacher it is important to know what the candidates are saying.  Plus, I love politics.  We are holding a mock election on November 6 here at school, so we have been studying the candidates.  I think it has been helpful to my students.

Today, we were supposed to be looking at the French and Indian War.  However, a comment was made that got us on the debate.  I have learned over the years, that there some days when your lesson plan is not the most important thing to accomplish that day.  When the students take over and are full of energy and passion, then go with it I say.  My last class of the day was like this!  It was great.

I teach the students who are most likely to come from conservative homes, which are religious and economically successful. So most of them are Romney fans.  However, I do have a few who are Obama supporters and are reluctant to say much because the Romney backers are so vocal.  Today was different and how!  One of my Romney supporters said this, “I think those who are poor have just been taking advantage of the medicare system (she meant medicaid) and have a free ride.”  She added, “Why don’t they just get a better job instead of taking my money.  Can you hear her parents in that statement?  Well that got the day rolling.

One of my students, who happens to be African-American, made a vehement defense of single moms and those who are considered, “poor”.  It was surprising because she rarely speaks.  She spoke well and with passion.  Now as a teacher how great is this?  A girl with low self-confidence speaking and affecting those who were listening.  Her comments were very personal so I won’t share them here, but she spoke of hardship and made an impact.  I think she will be looked at differently from this day forth.  And, she just may have opened some eyes to the fact that not all of our folks are the same.

I definitely have a horse in the race and he isn’t the incumbent.  But as a teacher I do want my students to make their choices on their own and not be browbeat with what their teacher says.  That happened to me and I hated it!  Plus, it doesn’t hurt any of us to be challenged to think differently, or at least be exposed to a different point of view.  Some days you wonder why you teach.  And then some days you can’t imagine doing anything else, today was one of those days.

Whatever your political bent, please educate yourself and vote.  Until next time, peace.

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Todd