Teaching this Election to Girls

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I taught four classes of girls yesterday. Many of them were crying. We talked about immigrants, religious liberty and choice, poverty, and being a woman. I tried to put the electoral college’s outcome in historical perspective, but found myself at a loss beyond that. It seems that I as a teacher have competing priorities right now, and I don’t know which one should take precedence. On the one hand, I want my students as young women to scream at the top of their lungs that violence, hatred, and in this case specifically misogyny, are categorically unacceptable. On the other hand, I want to drive home that this election has revealed a deeply divided American public, which is a problem, and I know that my job as a teacher is to encourage civil discourse. All I’ve done so far is to encourage them to be kind and open-minded, and to remember that their bodies are their own, and then I’ve just gone on with the curriculum. But how do you reconcile being furious with trying to promote civility? I don’t know the answer to that.

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