Teaching during a Presidential election can be a ton of fun. It is, however, not without pitfalls. Here are a few tips to make your election lessons informative for your students, and politics free for you.
- Never share your personal politics: This seems pretty obvious, but there are little ways that it can creep into your teaching. Make sure that your students, and their families, cannot tell which politician you are in favor of.
- No class is homogeneous: You may believe that everyone in your class will have families that support one candidate. This will NOT be the case. Make sure that you cover both candidates equally. Remember that students who do not share the opinions of the majority of the students may not speak up in class. They will, however, go home and share what was discussed in class. Make sure that you are not allowing students to trash one particular candidate during political discussions. It can be wonderful when you have a student who feels strongly about one candidate, and shares appropriate points about that candidate in class. Simply make sure all discussions in class remain courteous – even if our actual candidates cannot do this.
- Study the basics: Students can research details about the politician of their choice at home. Presidential elections bring out a range of emotions in people. You do not want to upset a family by covering something in class they feel was slanted against their candidate. I created the 2016 Presidential Election Bundle to cover the basic history of each candidate. Whatever material you cover in the classroom, make sure that it is balanced.
- Have secure mock elections: Model any mock elections off of real elections. Students should have a secure voting area where no one can see their vote. In my room, we actually appoint “election judges” to handle handing out ballots. I even have students fold their own ballots and turn them into the election box themselves. You can even have an election judge hand students “I voted” slips after they have turned in their ballots. Finally, have students tally the election results. This makes students understand the entire election process.
- Remind students not to share their vote: This one is difficult in a classroom. Children love to discuss everything with one another. Voting choices is not something that students should share. Remind students that the only way anyone will know who they voted for, is if they tell someone.
For More fun tips this month, check out the blogs below: