The Central Trend

Media Comm. teacher, Jeff Manders, seated at his desk, circa 2018

Inauguration Day in the classroom: a Q&A with Mr. Manders

Name: Mr. Jeff Manders

Classes: Civics, Government, Media Communications

How many of your classes did you show the inauguration in, and what parts of the inauguration did you show?

“It was really kind of around lunchtime when all the inauguration stuff was happening.”

And why did you decide to show the inauguration?

“Well, I’m the Civics and Government teacher, so it’s something we’ll definitely be talking about in Government class tomorrow. It’s also a huge historic event that happens every four years, so I think it’s important for students to understand what’s happening. Just sitting with the kids in my fourth hour there, it generated questions about ‘Well, how does this work?’ and ‘Why is that happening?’ or ‘[Who] was that person reading the oath to Kamala Harris or to President Biden?’ People don’t even know who our Supreme Court members are. My concern is some students don’t even really know what the Supreme Court is. It’s a moment in time, it’s a moment in history, that helps us bring up some of these important things. At least [to] me, as a Government teacher, it’s really important.”

Why do you think it’s important for students to tune into moments like this one?

“I mean, our democratic system is something that they’re already a part of whether they can vote or not. And then as soon as they leave here, when they become seniors and leave FHC, they are directly a part of the system. If you have a job, you’re part of the process. I think it’s something they should understand because that’s how our government was set up: to serve the needs of the people. And that democracy doesn’t work if the people aren’t paying attention to what’s happening.”

In your education experience, did you ever have a chance to witness moments like this or other historic moments?

“Do I remember any inaugurations when I was a student? I don’t think so. I kind of remember when the Berlin Wall fell, and I was in Government class at that time, so we talked about that. I barely remember the Challenger disaster. Those kinds of things I remember.”

Do you wish you had an opportunity to witness anymore of those moments?

“Yeah, I think when it plays perfectly into maybe what’s happening at school. I think we definitely need to expose students to what’s happening, especially when it involves our government. I think for almost any sort of class—it may be a stretch for others—but almost any sort of class, there’s definitely a connection.”

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