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 Courage to Speak Up

Carrie Craven - January 12, 2012

I didn’t say a word.

I never saw myself as a person to let a homophobic comment slide. Even from another adult. Even from someone with more power than me in the hierarchy of the school structure. But that day, in that conversation, I just let it go.

Driving Bilingual Education

Gary Wellbrock - January 11, 2012

I am a good driver. You’d never know it, given the theatrics of the backseat drivers in my vehicle, whose sudden gasps and quick grasps for the dashboard denote a lack of confidence in my skills.

This drama is alternately amusing, annoying and unnecessary. I'm proud to say that, for the most part, my instinctive go-to practice of "when in doubt, step on the gas" has never let me down.

Thoughts for a New Teacher

Amanda Ryan Fear - January 10, 2012

It’s with mixed emotions that I approach my last day working with the group of student teachers in the graduate course I am teaching. There is so much to learn. Following are lessons I hope all preservice teachers will take as they embark upon the most challenging and rewarding task of their lives: becoming teachers.

Building Diversity into the Common Core

Emily Chiariello - January 9, 2012

I’m a Teaching Tolerance Fellow, and I’m working to develop classroom resources that balance the requirements of the Common Core State Standards with culturally responsive instruction. I’m hoping to draw upon our readers’ expertise to meet this challenge. What readings or texts do you recommend that answer the call of the Common Core and culturally responsive pedagogy?

Making Time for a Lasting History Lesson

Jill Spain - January 9, 2012

Bryan had anger issues in sixth grade. One day another boy in my class called him “gay” and he flung his desk across the room and chased the boy all the way to the main office where he ended up in a heap of trouble...again. Despite all of the impulsive and often violent behavior, deep down underneath the tough-guy façade, Bryan had many likable qualities. But he still ended up being moved to our school’s alternative program for students with behavioral issues.

Never Give Up on Finding Dreams

Amanda Ryan Fear - January 6, 2012

I’m sitting in my office with Sam, a senior, whose counselor brought him to see me. He missed more school than he attended last year and has started this school year in similar fashion. His counselor thought that a meeting with me might help emphasize the importance of better choices.

Classroom Guest Busts Stereotypes

Bronwyn Harris - January 5, 2012

It’s not unusual to encounter misconceptions about Africa. People erroneously refer to “the country of Africa” or say that someone “speaks African.” Most of my third-grade students were African-American, and they not only knew very little about Africa; they held negative assumptions about anyone who is African. Worse, my students used “black African” as a slur. No one knew how that got started. In fact, part of the reason I usually say “black” instead of “African-American” is that I got used to my students saying “black.” The term “African” was not anything they wanted associated with themselves, even with “American” tacked on to the end.

Winning the Battle of Smart vs. Cool

Marguerite Rucker - January 4, 2012

My student was trying to act like he wasn’t smart. He told his parents that being smart meant not having cool friends. When test time came, he simply made random patterns with the bubbles on his standardized test, scoring one of the lowest scores in the sixth-grade class. The following year, he made a fresh start by earning one of the highest scores on the pretest. I knew I was in for a fight or, rather, a battle that would culminate with a full-on war to maintain. One I hoped to win.

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