Best Possible Selves 18
Our faculty and staff gathered on Friday afternoon to talk about Inauguration Day 2017. I did my best to prompt the conversation with questions such as the following: how did it go? how were they feeling? in what ways had the children been wanting to talk about the Inauguration? The premise of this conversation was clear -- i.e., that neither the workplace nor the classroom are appropriate venues to discuss politics as such, but rather to acknowledge that the norms of American political life are being challenged and subject to dramatic reconsideration. We wondered together what the Best Possible Inauguration Day experience might have looked like for the children and shared examples and perspectives from across the grades. As elementary educators we recognized that we were facing an age-old dilemma with a 21st century twist: was it our job merely to initiate civics lessons into the curriculum or perhaps more intentionally to confront the awkward, if not contentious, aspects of a modern democracy? I’m not sure whether or not we can claim credit for the Best Possible Inauguration Day experience, but I was proud of the way in which our teachers engaged so respectfully with each other and responded so thoughtfully to this emerging challenge.