There is a LOT going on in our world today from ongoing conflicts to extreme violence to protests for various causes to controversial political decisions. In this environment, especially when your context only allows you to interact with your students once a week, it can be difficult trying to find the time and the words to discuss what’s happening to our world.
As a human being, I’ve never been interested in politics and although I have felt deep sadness at the violence that is committed around the world, I have never gotten involved in any way myself. It was not until the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. that I told myself I needed to do something, no matter how small. Why now? Well, now it’s something that is affecting my identity in several ways: as a woman, a Muslim, an American.
I have become more active on Twitter and other sites, have consciously looked for “real” news and have reached out to the government officials who represent me to share my thoughts. I have been constantly sharing opinions and relevant articles on my social media feeds to just get the information out somehow. I have many previous students, who are now in late high school or college, who follow me on these platforms and are standing up for what they believe in in their own ways.
What about the young 7th graders who I teach? Their major concerns on a daily basis consist of school grades, video games or the latest book they’re reading. Very few are keeping up with the stories from around the country, let alone around the world. In my heart, though, I know these need to be addressed somehow and I’m still trying to figure out how to approach them in my classroom.
So far, I am looking forward to introducing the Values and Voices “100 Days. 100 Letters.” campaign to my students, which I have been actively following. I hope to encourage them to use what they have learned about their faith so far this year, to write their own letters to the president with things he should keep in mind as he tries to run our country.
If you have other thoughts or ideas on how to address the issues we face, please let me know and in the meantime, may we all have strength to get up every day and continue trying to make a difference in our world.