I teach history, geography, and government (once for government) classes along with religion and computer classes. I know that, as a teacher, I have a huge impact on my students. For most of them, I probably fit with in the top 5-10 most influential people in their lives. Especially since I teach at a small school so the students have me for multiple classes. This is a scary responsibility but at the same time it is why I became a teacher.

All teachers have a massive impact on their students! Because of this we need to draw some lines. Here are some of mine:

  1. I will never tell my students my political party
  2. I will never tell my students who I voted for (I do make sure they know that I voted though)
  3. I will never require my students to profess a certain belief about politics, religion, or anything else

I do think that it is very important to discuss politics and religion and that is central to how I teach. I draw these lines because (1) I do not want to over influence my students. My goal is to enable them to discover what they personally believe. (2) I do not want them to stop listening to what we are talking about if we disagree.

It was interesting to read about politics and activism in this weeks readings. Not all teachers have as strong of lines as I do and I do get concerned that the teacher will push their personal political agenda’s instead of teaching students how to think.

I did find the article about teaching students how to engage politically over social media to be a good direction that I want to integrate into my lessons more. More and more of politics are happening online and it is difficult to know how to properly engage with it.

Here are some challenges that I would like to teach my students to overcome when engaging politically online.


What lines should teachers have for themselves in their classrooms?

What other challenges should high school students learn about engaging politically online?

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Kendyl

What a great topic! I took two government classes in high school. Reflecting on my own time in school, I remember we would try and find political affiliation from our government teachers. One was adamantly diplomatic and would make great efforts to argue both sides and to this day, I could not tell you with certainty what his affiliation would be. Another presented all sides, but the mocking tone he would use to convey certain information left no doubt where he fell on political issues. While humorous, it made some students uncomfortable to even engage with him in other topics.… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Kendyl
jessica burns

I love this post. While I teach mostly English Literature, I have taught many other subjects and have a love for History and Social Studies and am now also part of the Social Studies department teaching Geography (I still teach mostly English though). I have found that as an English teacher over the years, I have had to teach history (background) and elements of Social Studies for literature. I strongly agree with your ‘rules’. When I was in high school, my history teachers were my favorite teachers. I still speak with at least two of them today (via social media;… Read more »

Lee M

I think learning to distinguish between persuasive and descriptive communication is one of the most effective ways to help people filter information they encounter, political and otherwise.
I appreciate that you keep your personal sentiments out of the class, too. I found that kind of disassociation especially helpful when teaching hot button issues like evolution and climate change.

Lori

I think it can be difficult to find the balance. We have a Young Republicans club on campus sponsored by a teacher who obviously makes her political leanings known. Students have asked me my opinion. While I don’t share in class, I live in a small community. I see my students at events outside of school. It would be very difficult to shield them from knowing where I stand on a variety of issues.