Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a day for democracy

If you haven't voted yet, what are you waiting for? If you already voted, YAY for you! If you chose not to vote or just didn't make it to the polls, I'm saddened that you've missed this opportunity to be a part of history.

As you've probably guessed, the election was the center of school today, both in my classroom and throughout the building. Believe me, the debates between middle schoolers can be just as intense as between adults about who should be President. Even myy students, who certainly don't understand all the issues and probably haven't had as much exposure to the campaigns as their "typical" peers, have formed strong opinions. Some of them I think are based on what they've heard their families discussing at home. Others made their choices for different reasons such as they liked the name or how the candidate looked or how his voice sounded or even because, like typical teens, they want to do the opposite of what's "expected" of them (asserting that independence from their families). Not too different from the general populace, in my opinion. I think we did a good job as adults in my room about not prejudicing the kids' choices or trying to unduly influence them. Yes, they have heard some good discussion about the merits, or perceived lack thereof, of the various candidates. Yes, the four adults in my room are evenly split about who we support, with some of us being more vocal than others. But in the end, I think the kids really did choose who they wanted. We had a good time learning the basics about the election, who the candidates are, and how voting works. I adapted last week's News-2-You about the 2008 Election which we read and discussed together. Then we participated in a school-wide mock election being run by the 7th grade social studies classes complete with election booths, "real" ballots, and exit pollsters. Building-wide, the election went overwhelmingly to McCain/Palin, not too surprising for a very conservative Kansas community. In our class, the election went to Obama/Biden by a margin of one vote.

Whichever candidate comes out on top tonight (or tomorrow or next week or whenever the "final" count is made), I hope he is able to be an effective leader for our country and can bring about the substantive change that is so desperately needed. So best wishes to both sides, but I really hope "my side" comes out on top (and he'd better do a good job if he does)!

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