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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

What a momentous event! Today as a first grade teacher, I made history with my students. We sat together on the floor and watched our first African American President be sworn into office. Today, for the first time ever in my teaching career, my students truly believed that someday they could become president. That it was not just a career for old white men. Remember they were not born yet when President Bush took office the first time.

I was most moved when the spectators at the Inauguration were asked to rise as Obama was sworn in. Every one of my first graders rose to their feet with their hands over their hearts as they watched. Whether you like Obama or not, whether you agree with his policies or not, or whatever you believe about him, today was a beautiful day in the history of our nation.

My students, many of whom are bi-racial, were also excited to see pictures of his extended family and realize that he is bi-racial as well. I can foresee a day when the checkboxes on applications will have to add an additional choice: all of the above, or better yet, when the box is no longer there because it no longer matters.

On the way home from school, James and Grace point by point rehashed and dissected Obama's speech. They talked about what they liked and what they didn't like. I realized that even for them, for some reason this election has taken on personal meaning. For two children who've never cared about politics to suddenly be very interested in a Presidential speech is huge. I also appreciated the way they were carefully digesting it and discussing it together and with me.

I don't know what our future holds, but I was excited about many of the things that occurred today. I liked seeing my students believing in themselves and in their country. I liked seeing my children interested in our nation and willing to discuss and debate their views with me.

*Just a note - Shawn is headed to his mom's again to lay floor and will take my computer, so no more blogs until the weekend since the blogspot is blocked at school.*

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