What does social justice teaching look like now?
The day after the US election results, I sat in my Social Studies 9 classroom and wrote an email to… myself? my best friend? the future? I just needed to get it down, and I’d like to share it with a wider audience. What am I going to teach kids during the time of Trump?
Dear Future Self:
Today at school I had my Social Studies 9 class, the one that I told yesterday afternoon that I would not come to school if Trump won. This was enough of a joke (I thought) that I was safe. My students are international. There are kids from Mexico, China, Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. We’ve been doing Current Events all term and they know what this election means to so many Americans who look and speak like them.
Last night after the results came in, and I got ready to go to school today, I was thinking about September 11th. It was such a weird day at school. I don’t remember very much of 10th grade but I do remember that day, and I remember my teachers. This is what I told my class this morning. I told them that I think they will remember today in the way that I remembered 9/11. The before and the after. They might forget a lot of this school year, but they might remember me and the things I said today. So, I told them, I have to be careful.
I understand that as a Canadian citizen living and working in Canada I do not have the same fears as my colleagues and friends doing the same in the United States. Today Canada is one of the few major democracies not undergoing a shift to nativism and fear, although that doesn’t mean it’s impossible in the future. Now more than ever our thoughts and actions really mean something. I’ve written about this before, and I share the same thoughts today.