On the wall in the room where I teach, the social studies teacher has a political continuum that has been up since about a month before the election. Students had noticed and asked about the display. I told them as much as I could without getting political. I don’t think it’s my place to dictate ideologies.
But my student, who speaks very little English, and who also happens to be Muslim, pointed at the picture of Donald J. Trump on the wall and said, “No like. Not good for Muslim.”
On the day after the election, I was distraught. All of my students are immigrants. Many are Muslim. And my students asked many times during the day if they would be sent home. It wasn’t just the Muslim students asking. It was everybody.
It’s hard to process feelings when there is little common language. I think my students understand that our fair city is one that has in the past and will continue to welcome refugees. I tried to explain that as legal residents, they would not be sent home. I tried to allay the fear.
But it’s hard to learn when the ground beneath you feels like it’s moving. To learn, students must feel safe. They must feel loved.
And right now, that’s a little hard. When you don’t know what the political landscape is going to look like, and you have dozens of questions, and nobody can tell you.
I asked them to send me songs in response to the email I sent them, asking them to help me smile.
In the end, it’s my hope that music will heal all.