Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration with Class

The Inauguration was during first and second period today, so I watched along with eighth graders. Well, I watched and some of them did, too, but there's those short attention spans. I made inauguration cupcakes for all of them, which made them happy. The funny thing about middle school students is they are so very young (they were in first grade on 9/11). Their last Presidential election was when they were in fourth grade, so they think that elections are always this exciting and interesting. They do realize the historic significance of today, but I don't think one of them ever thought that they'd never see the day. That thinking belongs to my generation. Good for them.

They probably think these things, though:
-that they will own a wardrobe of t-shirts with the face of the next Presidential candidate they support,
-that the next President will have an easily recognizable logo like Obama's circle with the wavy stripes and the blue and white sunrise,
-that they will one day, again, spontaneously break into chants of their favorite candidate's name.

The relief at the departure of the Bushes was palpable, with the sixth graders downstairs cheering when the helicopter lifted the ex-President away.

So, to my children, both working out of the country right now: yes, people really are feeling as good as they seem to on television. The end of our reign of terror combined with this historic election have caused a rash of kindness and happiness to break out. Yes We Can and Hope and Change are not just campaign slogans. People seem willing to live these ideas. And, though I know that one man can't possibly live up to these hopes, I'm willing to play along for a while, too. I was impressed with Obama's first act as President: a sobering rather than feel-good address to the country. I wish you had been here to share the day with me.


Anonymous said...

Very nice thoughts

Anonymous said...

Obama smokes...literally.

Libby Fife said...

Children can be innocent and charming at that age. Give them time I guess.

Even at my age I never thought I would see an African American president-we couldn't get a woman there for some reason so I guess I will have to continue to hope-what does that say?

Good post-thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I was so happy when President Bush was introduced yesterday that there was no booing or cat calls or such. It would have been rather ugly, don't you think? I did smile a little however, at the extremely sparse greeting he received. Very light on the applause.

vicmarcam said...

Oh, LFF! I am not used to hearing 8th graders called innocent and charming. Though both can be true, they mostly go out of their way to never be excited about anything. Ask them how pretty much any event was, and they will almost always answer "boring." They are so busy appearing jaded that they have little time for anything else. One of the fun things about teaching them is reaching those moments where they are so excited they can't hide it. Their interest in politics has totally taken me by surprise.

Anonymous: that was a very polite crowd yesterday. Two million people sat in silence listening to speeches and poetry. But I was delighted to hear that many in the crowd broke into, "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, goodbye" as the helicopter took off. Perhaps the thing that our country does best is a peaceful transition of power, which must be the envy of people around the world, but I would have been okay if that helicopter would have taken him straight to jail (for a fair, legal trial).

Anonymous said...


Somewhat ironically I was helping out in computer class during the inauguration, so I to got to see it with fifth graders. I wasn't really sure how many were paying attention until the Vice-President was sworn in and the audiance was asked to stand-up. At which point every one of them obiently stood up. (They also stood for the President being sworn in.) I can honestly say that if it weren't for the peer-pressure I probably would have remained seated for both of those events...

Anonymous said...

Hi Again,

I re-read that last comment and realized that it sounded as though I wasn’t thrilled that Mr. Obama is President. This is not the case, I am extremely happy. I also realized that if I write my comments in a word processor that has spell check and then paste them into the comment block I will look like less of an idiot.


vicmarcam said...

That's funny about the kids standing up. The sixth and seventh grade teachers reported to me that the kids did the same. But the eighth graders didn't, and I didn't ask them to, since we had already stood once that morning. This one little girl, though, stood for the entire Star Spangled Banner, all by herself. I didn't know she had the guts to do that, and I see her in a new light now.

Kay said...

I taught 8th graders for many years, so I've been enjoying your education comments on this blog. As for the inauguration--Some of the Catholic schools here, maybe even the one where I once taught, didn't even mention the inauguration. Why? Obama is pro choice. Scary, isn't it?