Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, the day after the most contentious presidential election in our recent memory,
was a school day.
What would school be like?
What would my student teachers face?
How could a school create unity when the country was so divided?
How can you hold kids accountable when the adults in the room are acting anything but?
I walked onto an elementary school campus and was greeted with three third graders marching and saying: "We need a recount. Recount. Recount."
Who even knows that word in third grade?
I walked into a classroom before school had even started and found two veteran teachers in tears...and my student teacher just quietly watching.
"What do we tell the students?
How can we ask our students to behave with kindness and respect when we have this President?"
But time was ticking.
They didn't have a script.
No instruction manual...
students were coming.
Game faces on.
I watched it unfold in classroom after classroom.
Sat in awe as teachers comforted and listened.
Sometimes they gathered their students together and reaffirmed for them that this school in this place was safe and most importantly was theirs.
Sometimes they talked about democracy and founding fathers and the idea that every single one of us gets a vote.
I watched a student teacher guarantee her students safety, tolerance and respect in such a commanding way that I got teary eyed taking my notes with her words.
She helped her students see the beauty in our nation...
in our equality...
in our traditions and our government.
She offered every student herself.
If they didn't feel safe;
if they felt like they wanted to talk;
if they wanted to share a story...
she was there to listen.
I know a teacher who took the last part of the day to make friendship bracelets.
"Go ahead and work on a bracelet and think about who you will give it to in this classroom."
We are all friends here.
That steady hand.
Those loving arms.
that's what happened in school today.
All around the country, America's teachers steadied the course.
They went to work...
picking up the pieces and creating a beautiful mosaic.
Holding the expectations high.
Showing children what it means to be American.
These incredible people are stitching our children together,
binding them with love and kindness.
If you want to know where to look during this time of disequilibrium and division...stop at a school.
Watch a teacher in action.
Listen to her big book about friendship.
Let the music of children's voices float over you.
Rise to the expectations of a child's best version of you.
We can do this.
We have their example.
Follow their rules:
America's teachers offer all of us a glimpse of extraordinary grace
during the least ordinary of times.
All we can do is follow their lead.