Part 1 of 2: Should teachers share political opinions in classrooms?

Yes, teachers should express their political views because it improves the quality of discussions. No, this could make students feel targeted and disrupt the harmony of the class.


Illustration: Kat St. Martin-Norburg

After a polarizing election, it is best for teachers to share their opinions to deepen political conversations.

Yes: Teacher opinions on politics could provide healthy and respectful debate

This past election season has created a particularly polarizing political atmosphere, and one which also leaks into everyday life. Currently, it seems that all anybody can talk about is politics; every major news outlet feed is saturated with political news, and it is hard to get away from partisan talk. Furthermore, much of the political discourse that is seen on social media and television is aggressive, and constantly attacking either a person, party, and its beliefs. This is why teachers should be able to express their political opinions respectfully in the classroom.

The whole point of a classroom is to learn, and students cannot do that if they have only their perspectives to discuss, because they could potentially be limited. While some may think that a teacher’s opinion doesn’t belong in discourse among students, it adds the valuable perspective of an educated adult. And, it is, after all, a teacher’s job to teach. A teacher sharing their political views lets their students know where they stand on current events and issues, which can significantly contribute to the quality of a humanities class.

According to a study published by The Washington Post,  60% of educators nationwide identify as liberal, and at SPA,  that number seems to be higher among both teachers and students. While those who identify as conservative, or those who disagree with a teacher’s opinion may feel uncomfortable, or even criticized, from hearing a teacher voice a political opinion that is different from theirs, as long as the teacher is careful to convey their opinions in a respectful manner, there should be no reason for any students to feel this way.

An argument for why teachers should not share their opinions is that a teacher could potentially attempt to force their political opinions onto their class or the opposing student. While this could be a conflict, the SPA community should be able to trust their teachers to conduct themselves in a professional manner, especially when it comes to politics. A teacher expressing their political view is just that; an educator letting their students know their opinions, not imposing their views on their students or trying to make their students feel uncomfortable or singled out.  

Teachers bringing their political views into the classroom can promote a healthy and respectful debate that is not often seen among students with opposing political views. The presence of a respected adult in a political debate can encourage the use of less hurtful language between students when arguing about their beliefs. Teachers can also help facilitate discussions based on facts as opposed to rumors seen on social media, or heard from friends. While SPA students are perfectly capable of having their own intelligent conversations about politics, the addition of a teacher’s opinion can help enhance those discussions. As long as teachers are careful not to forcefully impose their political views onto their students, then there is no reason not to allow teachers to share their political views in class.

Read the other side of this debate here