The 2008 presidential elections are fast approaching; candidates of every stripe and background are saturating the airwaves. If there was ever a time to broach issues of democracy in action in the classroom, this would be it. While teachers should not endorse any particular political position, the students are usually ready to volunteer ideas of their own.
Last year, while teaching for WITS at Pearl Rucker Elementary, I had a chance to work with the students on a presidential election exercise. One of my students, Darion Waddle, wrote this piece about running for President, which was later selected and read by him at the WITS Young Writer’s Reading at The Menil Collection. This recording was made in the classroom; the students you hear in the background are his classmates, fellow fourth graders from Ms. Kamuiru’s HISD classroom. Click here to hear Darion deliver his address; the text of his speech appears below.
I’m going to be the President of my country because I want my friends, family, and country to believe me, for whatever it takes. I love my country. I will make America a better place. I will make my country clean by my army and stop the war, so no more men will get hurt. I will make America a better place.
I am the President. I will never, ever replace my job with anyone, not even for a million dollars. I will keep my job. I will love my country so much that whatever my country asks me, I will take the bad people out and keep the world a perfect place. I will give the poor my house. I will stop bad food. I will give bad people away. I will pay my army extra money for cleaning people’s houses, and I will call my army the Face Paints. I can make poor houses better. I love my country.
Happy President’s Day, everyone.
posted by Julian Martinez, Writers in the Schools