Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Politics in the Classroom



I have been lost in my 8th grade math world where there are no politics, no corruption, no shady elected officials. I have never been one to advertise my political views. I research and I vote but don't ask me for who! Politics, to me, is like college football - it ruins relationships when you aren't on the same team! But lately....wow! In the last legislative session there were so many education items. A couple caught my attention as they would directly affect me. As I began google-ing, I found two education rock stars. Larry Lee is a big deal and his voice for educators is even bigger. The other rock star is our Jennifer Brown, Teacher of the Year. She spent her reign doing what seemed impossible - stopping a big, bad, ugly bill that would have been devastating for teachers and our students.


The two of them inspired me. She gave teachers a way to make a difference in a positive way. Invite a Legislator to our classroom and tweet them all of the great things that happen. I loved putting it on my to do list. I can't fix the system but I can fix how my students experience the system. So I emailed every Legislator inviting them to our classroom. I received only 2 automated replies. With the next rounds of emails I focused on the Legislators in my district. That sweet Representative you see in the photograph above with me and below with science students is the only one that replied! We were so excited!


As he talked to students, you could hear his passion for his place in the House. He bragged that he was the 5th longest seated Representative. My students loved talking with him and showing him things they were working on. It was a great day and my hope is that the next time an education issue comes up, he thinks of us. 


The experience made me want to do more. My Teacher of the Year made me want to be a part of what she is doing. I feel honored she asked me to be a part of something bigger than me and my classroom. As I watch teachers leave our profession, I know quitting is not an option for me. I teach my kids math because I LOVE it. I didn't go into this profession on the conditions of "only when I feel like it", "only when things go my way", or "only when I feel valued." I agreed to do this job every school day regardless of circumstance. I was made to teach, not doodle with politics. But how can I expect my students to make a difference outside of our classroom if I will not? So for my students I will gladly invite Legislators to our classroom! Just don't ask me who I am voting for!

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