Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Can, Indeed!

I'm really excited to be at school this morning, and I rarely feel that way. But the exuberance of the students inside and outside the building is incredible. From outside my window I'm hearing chants of "Obama! Obama!" as kids slowly make their way into the building.

In the hallways kids are chanting more. Several have stuck their heads into my room to talk about it. One kid yelled, "President Obama has made history!"

Yesterday I made my students write their thoughts on how an Obama presidency would impact their lives. Some of the kids took it super seriously. One of my favorite students actually has his head shaved with Obama's name and campaign logo. I wanted to take a picture, but was afraid that might get my in trouble. Trust me; it's awesome.

Several of the kids wrote poems about Obama. One kid wrote that a win by Obama would mean that when his parents tell him he can be anything he wants to be, that it's actually true. Even for black people. That got me choked up a little.

A few students wanted to spout off some conspiracy theories that I won't share, because I don't want to even think about stuff like that. But one girl did insist that the whole Grant Park rally was a set up. She kept asking me which party Mayor Daley belonged to. I said he was a Democrat, just like Obama. She said, "I don't care what you say, Mrs. Fuji. Daley is a snake and this rally is a setup to get Obama!" I told her that I thought she was wrong -- that I was fairly sure the rally was Obama's idea. And she should be thinking happy thoughts regardless. (Oh, and one student said he was going to riot no matter what happened, but I think he was kidding.)

Today I am making my kids read Martin Luther King, Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. It seems appropriate. This moment is the closest we've come to some sort of realization of King's dream. I know that at least two of my classes will get into it and we'll have some great discussions.

President Elect Obama has a tough road ahead of him. The challenges facing this country are enormous. But I just want to enjoy this day with my students. They deserve it.

Yes We Can, and Yes We Did!

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