As far as my fourth graders were concerned, Gov. Beshear is as close to a president or any other famous person that they will get to see. It warmed my heart to see them clap their hands in gleeful anticipation of his entrance into our gym, with hushed choruses of, "OHHHH! I see him. There he is!"
And while I was trying to help them keep their excitement at a normal level, I couldn't help but be struck by this idea.
When I was growing up, the governor was some man in a nebulous office in a place called Lansing, MI, and as far as I was concerned, he never left his office, unless it had something to do with Detroit or Lansing or one of the BIG THREE. As a teacher, you want to make the students' understanding of government real-world for them, but how can you when the guy or girl that runs the show never really meets them at their level?
Despite the inordinate number of "suits" in the room and despite the sickening display of "let me see how far I can get my nose up your rear" displays, it was still so neat to see my kids be front and center for government and politics at work. I find it exceedingly fortunate that I teach in a capitol city, and despite any political misgivings I may have, I find it so thrilling to know that I can bring politics to my students' laps in a short 6-city block walk.
I think we're all super lucky!
So, here's to democracy and fourth graders and learning!