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
When my daughter pulls hard on the heavy glass doors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Laboratory School and races upstairs into her fifth-grade classroom, she is living my dream.
We are happy to announce the selection of the 2011 Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board. We received more than 500 applications from outstanding multicultural educators across the country. We selected teachers from each grade category. It was extremely difficult to select just a few teachers from such a remarkable pool of applicants. Please join us in congratulating this year’s advisory board members.
After reading a Teaching Tolerance Facebook post asking how we would be marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I started to think about how I would address this in my classroom. My new group of sixth-graders will be 10 and 11 years old. What they know about these events will not be from their memories but from what they have learned from their parents and teachers. And given the proximity of our school district to New York City, it is quite possible that I will have students who lost a family member on that day. However I decide to approach it in the classroom, it isn’t going to be easy.
I had coffee with a colleague recently and we discussed plans for lessons on Sept. 11. Robin outlined her discussion and writing plan based on George Orwell’s 1984—specifically on the “Two Minutes’ Hate” he describes.
The month of Ramadan comes upon my classroom slowly. The non-Muslim students don’t notice the changes at first, but soon the little things start creeping in. They see that the classes are smaller, because more students are staying home. Or they might notice that the Muslim students are a little more tired than usual, or that when offered food, they politely put up their hand and say, “No food for me, I am fasting.”
This is when the questions start.
This week as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I plan to gather my third-, fourth- and fifth-graders around me. I will tell them, "Our country is beautiful place."
I’ll keep this in mind as I think of the moments when we were clearly afraid.
Each year, as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I feel a twinge of trepidation. My students don’t remember that horrible day. It’s not on their radar. I struggle with balancing wanting to honor those who lost their lives and the heroes of that day with the need to respect the innocence and hope of my students. Reconciling these conflicting emotions is always tricky.
As the country approaches the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Teaching Tolerance bloggers have written about their insights and experiences in the classroom as a result of the attacks. We offer these for your reflection and adoption.