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
For all the wonderful things that diversity brings to a classroom, teaching a diverse group of students can be much more difficult than teaching a seemingly homogeneous one because of our assumptions. Some people are uncomfortable talking about diversity and culture. No one wants to be labeled a racist. I learned this lesson during my fourth year of teaching.
My journalism students were brainstorming topics for their final story projects. I urged them to come up with compelling ideas that relate to their experiences but that push deeply into national trends.
“Stop letting all the midlife writers (like myself) tell your stories,” I pushed. “Tell your own.”
Teaching Tolerance recognized five outstanding educators with the first-ever Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching on Dec. 9th in Washington, D.C.
A teacher notes that a student looks uncharacteristically pale and avoids eye contact with her classmates. When asked privately if she’s OK, the girl bursts into tears, sharing a weekend-long saga of harsh criticism delivered via emails, chats and texts.
Anna quickly entered my freshmen English classroom when the third-period bell rang. She is no longer a freshman. This was a free period. Still, she sat at the desk closest to mine and buried her head in her AP European History textbook.
She knew she was safe here.
The explosion of news coverage over the controversial execution of Troy Davis in Georgia recently is a reminder that our students learn powerful lessons outside our classrooms.
These events offer opportunities for lessons of context inside our classrooms.
Oct. 8, was a day of victory for a group of 22 Life Academy students in Oakland, Calif.
They are part of a 2-year-old advocacy club called “The Real DREAM Act Movement.” Students met regularly to support in campaigning for the passage of the federal DREAM Act. After several weeks of active letter writing and campaigning, their dream had finally come true: California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 131, a companion bill to AB 130, together known as the “California DREAM Act.”
By the 171st day of school, even a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher like me is pretty sure I am immune to being moved or motivated in any sort of way.
I am mechanically and somewhat maniacally moving toward the soul nurturing, patience restoring and creativity refueling station we know as “summer vacation.” My fuse is short. I have an overwhelming need for order, structure and control in the classroom. Final exams, deadlines for grades and year-end papers are due.