I set the packet in front of the 2nd grade English Language Learners. We were studying grammar and linking sentences in the context of learning about some of the more well known presidents. They scanned through the faces until they came to our current president.
“Oooh, that’s our president.” they cooed in unison, spilling over with excitement. “Barak Obama. He’s our president.” The adoration was palpable.
It was hard to pull them back to the task at hand as the conversation drifted onto the topic of politics and a mutual dislike for Donald Trump. As we reached end of the packet, another photo of the president pulled out more bright-eyed cooing. Their task was to create a compound sentence about the photo.
“President Obama is special.”
“Yes, but why is he special? You need to add to your sentence.”
“President Obama is special because he is nice.”
In all of my interactions with students, I have never seen the connection with a political official before now. I have been in classrooms where students parrot dislike for a candidate, and I become a fly on the wall at their family dinner conversations. I have seen students’ confusion over the whole process. In second grade, their idea of president is pretty limited. This is the first time I had seen actual love for a president.
President Obama ran on a platform of hope and inclusion. It’s nice to know that message reached some young minds. There may be hope for democracy yet.