The Day After Election Day

Emily McCarren

November 9, 2016

As in many workplaces today, our faculty are experiencing a range of emotions. But unlike many workplaces, in schools teachers have to quickly shift from their own emotions and turn to wondering about how to do their best work in care of our students.

Teachers wonder about this every day, but after such a contentious election season, that wonder is heightened.

Schools have to be places that model acceptance and respect for diversity at all levels, including political viewpoints. This is a value that teachers hold dear. Teachers work hard, often tirelessly, to keep their personal political views from students looking for shortcuts to "the right choice." If it is our aim for students to think critically, flexibly, and apply and adapt their learning to real issues and challenges, we cannot spoon feed them our answers.

Schools are place that teach students how to ask good questions, to find, interpret, analyze and synthesize data to make informed conclusions and decisions. And, we are places that seek to grow students' sense of moral reasoning that leads to moral action. We want our students to have agency to speak truth to power and seek out opportunities to do work that leaves the world a better place.

Our faculty, like faculty around the country – and around the world – woke up this morning still committed to that work.

And we are heeding the words of President-elect Trump, Secretary Clinton and our alumnus, President Obama. Their words call all of us to continue this work in service of unifying our great nation. To do that, we must bring all of our diverse strengths and talents, including those of our students, to bear as we continue to make this country everything that we aspire for it to be.


  • 11/10/2016 11:30:47 AM

    Thank you for these wonderful thoughtful words once again reinforcing why we support Punahou and its teachers. Mahalo

     – Lori Harrison

    • 11/10/2016 12:59:49 PM

      Well said! UNITY! (Iolani c/o '91) <3

      – Celeste Tam

    • 11/10/2016 2:47:14 PM

      Thank you, Emily. We are lucky having you at the helm. Onward and Upward! 

      – Sylvia Wilmeth

  • 11/10/2016 2:52:29 PM

    Thank you. My daughter Emily teaches high school and I've shared this with her.

     – Alan Cathcart '65

  • 11/10/2016 6:36:15 PM

    I work in a play base preschool and Wednesday was a tough day for the children. Children ages three to five expressed their dismay at the election results. As the outdoor educator, my role is to provide learning experiences outdoors in nature. I turned the conversation around and said as future environmentalists, it is their role to help preserve our earth. Luckily we also had a bat expert come the same day to discuss her research on big brown bats. In the afternoon we visited her outdoor bat laboratory. At the end of the day the children expressed their desire to be bat scientists. In spite of my personal feelings regarding the election results, I felt rewarded by the positive outcome of the day for the children.

     – Giovanna Lepore

    • 11/12/2016 1:21:20 PM

      Great job redirecting the children's fears. I wonder who even imposed their political views on these 3 to 5 yr olds who I don't think even had a clue

      Great job, Emily!

       – Dan

    • 11/16/2016 1:34:31 PM

      Thank you for keeping politics out of the school. These kids will learn in the future which direction they wish to go thanks to all of the wonderful teachers and staff.

       – Steven Sofos

  • 11/16/2016 8:21:55 PM

    Thank you. This is the single best balanced response I have read regarding the topic. It would apply no matter the winner and truly shows how sincere Punahou is in placing student learning ahead of faculty/staff political views or affiliation. Mahalo again.

     – Len Gambla


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