Opinion: How Donald Trump’s election makes teachers’ job more difficult

Ingrid Villeda leads her fifth-grade students at 93rd Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles back to class after lunch.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The morning after the election, I too witnessed tearful children at my school. And I also heard a white child ask a brown one, “When are you going back to Mexico?” (“Teachers told their students everything would be OK after the election. Now, they’re not so sure,” Nov. 18)

This parroting of what she hears at home discourages me deeply. Of course, she has always heard it, but now she has a president-elect who spouts it on television.

We talk about kindness, as always, but now we have a president-elect who demonstrates by his actions and victory that it seemingly doesn’t matter. We talk about standing up to bullies, but a big bully is about to become our president. We talk about respect for every human being, but we have a vice president-elect who says some people are more deserving of respect than others. 

How much more difficult our work has become.


Cathy Scott Skubik, San Pedro


To the editor: Your front-page article reported on teachers trying to deal with the questions their students have regarding illegal immigration and what will happen to them if their families are deported.

Why not tell the children to go home and talk to their parents about the situation, which they created by coming into this country illegally? Surely they knew the potential consequences when they came but chose to ignore them and make a life for themselves and their families. They have been able to live and work here with little regard for the immigration laws and now they are upset because they may have to answer up for what they have done. 


They would not be in this situation if they had come into the country legally, and it would be a moot point for them. 

Barbara Nauert, Santa Barbara


To the editor: Each of us has to find our own way through our students’ fears as expressed after the election. 

Specifically, I have avoided the subject unless someone asked about it in class. But indirectly, through the literature we are currently studying in different classes, I have found numerous ways to offer consolation and encouragement without imposing on them my own views on the subject. This is the beauty of teaching the arts and humanities. For me personally, it seems the only proper way to address concerns students may be carrying privately.

Regardless of our ethnicity, culture, race, age gender or politics, we share in our humanity common denominators. The best of literature, and by that I mean the classics that have stood the test of time, speak to those concerns, whether the literature comes from 2,000 years ago or 40. 

Much the same case can be made for subjects across the curriculum, from philosophy to sociology to history to the sciences and beyond. What a privilege we have to be able to offer guidance to our students, implicitly through the subjects we teach, and to give them a perspective many of them have been denied. 

Dale Salwak, Glendora


The writer teaches English at Citrus College.


To the editor: As a Quaker I have tried to stay positive and say “the system” will work itself out. But I am not so sure after reading about what President-elect Donald Trump has said about education and what teachers are now dealing with at school.

In this article, a fifth-grade teacher at 93rd Street Elementary School reports that one of her students asked: “People really don’t like us? What are we going to do about that?” 

This student is from Mexico, so what can you tell her? Don’t worry, it will all be all right? I am not so sure anymore.

I would like to ask Trump: How will cutting federal education funding help? What about eliminating or scaling back the U.S. Department of Education?

Teachers have a tough road ahead. I will hold them in my thoughts and prayers

Jane Krause, Tujunga


The writer is a retired Los Angeles Unified School District teacher.

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