“Normally, my kids are what make me feel hopeful when the world is awry … [as a teacher,] you get to interact with tiny humans who are the next generation,” she said. “My worry [Wednesday], for a lot of my kids, was that I was going to have to be that source of hope or the message that it’s going to be okay.”
Torres, like most of the teachers we spoke with, has students who are immigrants or identify as Muslim. For many of those children, Wednesday was marked by intense—and in some cases amplified or otherwise distorted—fears about what the election results mean for their futures.
Gregory Michie teaches seventh- and eighth-grade social studies at a public school in Chicago that serves a large immigrant population—he estimates about 95 percent of students are either immigrants themselves or are the children of immigrants. Many students, he said, expressed concerns for the safety of their families. “This one kid, a couple days in a row [leading up to the election], had said, ‘Mr. Michie, if Donald Trump deports my mom, can I come live with your family?’ It’s awful. My initial impulse is to want to make that student feel safe and feel okay.”
Teachers across the country fielded similar fears. “Are we going got be sent back to the places we were born tomorrow?” one 8-year-old reportedly asked Angela B., a music teacher at a school in southwest Philadelphia.