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
The whine of the projector subsides. Someone clicks on the lights. As the professor asks for commentary, the rapid raising of hands signifies an eagerness to respond. I remain still. Listening to my peer’s criticism of the Appalachian people featured in the made-for-TV special, I am humiliated.
Poet Adrienne Rich once asked:
How can we connect the process of learning to write well with [a] student’s own reality, and not simply teach her/him how to write acceptable lies in standard English?
The question appeared in her 1979 essay, “Taking Women Students Seriously.” Last week, Adrienne Rich passed away, leaving today’s educators to ponder alone a question that remains as pertinent as ever.
Recently I suspended a seventh-grade boy for publicly calling his former girlfriend a “slut” and a “whore.” Our rules on slurs are clear. But as I learned again, talking about something in class doesn’t always affect student behavior, especially if the unwanted behavior isn’t corrected or condemned outside of the classroom.
What do you do with a teacher who provides students with authentic learning opportunities? A teacher who invests her own resources to support students? A teacher who was voted Teacher of the Year two of the last three years?
If you’re Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell at the Pontiac Academy for Excellence Middle School in Pontiac, Mich., you fire her.
A recent issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine addressed two subjects that I see converging in news stories from around the country – intolerant attitudes toward students who are atheist and teachers using their positions to bully students.
Over dinner recently, I learned of my niece’s concern about her high school administrators removing the Kony 2012 posters that had been plastered all over the school. Kony 2012, a global campaign and viral video released by the nonprofit Invisible Children earlier this month, had fired her up and inspired her. My sister was thrilled to see her daughter so taken with a cause and so committed to having impact.
When I teach lessons about Martin Luther King Jr., I always wonder exactly how students will connect with the events and themes. My adult students are refugees and immigrants from different cultural backgrounds. Some of them were cultural minorities in their countries. Others are experiencing racial discrimination for the first time in the United States.
Teaching Tolerance has named 77 schools—25 more than last year—from across the country as Mix It Up Model Schools for their exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among their students and throughout their campuses during the 2011-12 school year.