A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools
Now that a federal judge has upheld most of Alabama’s new anti-immigration law, supporters can crow that the state is “No. 1” –at least when it comes to cracking down on immigrants. But what does that crackdown mean, practically speaking?
I do a lot of things in my classroom to teach, manage and assess my students. Countless assignments, procedures and projects are designed to keep the academic machinery of my classroom running smoothly. But when I want to know what my students really think about the world, I ask them to write a play.
Last spring, a fifth-grade girl approached me in the lunchroom with a question. Asalah is a Muslim student from Yemen. Our connection had started right there in the school cafeteria two years ago. I was passing out trays and sporks when the third-grade version of Asalah approached me with a question about whether or not the “ham” sandwich was really pork. I told her no, that it was turkey, and shared with her that my religion, Judaism, has dietary laws as well and that I don’t eat pork either. We’ve been pals ever since.
There are so many ways to mix up student seating at lunch that it can be paralyzing to consider them all. Don’t let this be a stumbling block. The outcome is the same, no matter the path that gets you there: You want to get students to sit with different people at lunch, and you want them to have a conversation so they get to know each other a bit.
Perhaps you’ve been wondering about the long hair of the Sikh student in your classroom. Or maybe you’ve joined debates about whether your Sikh student can carry a sword in the classroom. Perhaps you’ve mistaken your Sikh student for a Muslim all along. To help prevent misunderstandings in your school, here are some facts to know about Sikhs.
At my elementary school in Guatemala last year, soccer fields, basketball courts and baseball diamonds were dominated by boys and a handful of brave, tough girls.
“Man that boy booty sweaty!”
The comment rang out in a room that was supposed to be silent. Although the student whose “booty” was being discussed was out of the room and seemingly unscathed by his classmate’s remarks, I knew I had to address this like any other incident of disrespect. Since there are some students (most, I’d wager), who would be made uncomfortable by this type of remark, everyone needs to know that it’s not okay to say such a thing. It’s an opportunity for me to help a teenager hone empathy into a habit.