The week started with Nation’s top educators having a polarizing roundtable meeting with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and two days later, the teachers got a chance to spend a day at the White House.
It is not everyday state teachers of the year get a chance to meet the POTUS. Hence, many of them took the opportunity to convey fundamental messages to President Donald Trump.
One of these teachers was Mandy Manning who works at a school in Washington and primarily teaches refugee and immigrant high school students. Manning is surely a socially conscience person, as even at a moment when she could have just basked in the appreciation she received, she chose to silently protest for issues the commander-in-chief has little regard for.
While receiving her National Teacher of the Year award in the East Room by the president himself, Manning staged a silent protest by wearing six badges on her black dress. Trump went on to appreciate her “incredible devotion.”
“Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the wellbeing of our children, the strength of our communities and the success of our nation,” said the commander-in-chief.
The badges represented the teacher of the year program, National Education Association and Peace Corps along with the one that said “Trans Equality Now” and one in the shape of an apple with a rainbow.
Manning also didn’t forget about her students. When she got a private moment with the president, she made sure to hand him a stack of letters written by her students and members of the Spokane community. This goes to show her level of commitment, as she told Trump she hoped he would read them and also visit her school.
“I just had a very, very brief moment so I made it clear that the students that I teach ... are dedicated and focused,” Manning said in an interview. “They make the United States the beautiful place that it is.”
Though it is highly unlikely Trump’s stance against the immigrants and refugees will sway by these heartfelt letters, the effort is regardless praiseworthy. Also, since the environment in schools has gotten drastically hostile for minorities and people of color ever since Trump took office, it is time he read about the struggles he has brought to the lives of many.
Moreover, there were other teachers who delivered messages to the commander-in-chief about the importance of empathy and kindness– something he direly needs.
During their short encounter, Ohio’s Teacher of The Year, Jonathan Juravich, told Trump, “I want you to know what I teach my students is about respect and empathy, and that’s how we as adults need to model those behaviors for our students.”
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Carlos Barria