I teach history, geography, and 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:
- I will never tell my students my political party
- I will never tell my students who I voted for (I do make sure they know that I voted though)
- I will never require my students to profess a specific 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.
- Decipher what is truth and what is out of context or fabricated
- How to engage and not to enrage
- What platforms and methods are best to use for political discourse
- How to stay open and learn
What lines should teachers have for themselves in their classrooms?
What other challenges should high school students learn about engaging politically online?