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
I distinctly remember watching the very first space shuttle blast off on April 12, 1981. I was 8 years old, and I watched it while eating breakfast before school. Awe-inspiring, everyone talked about it for days. I recall watching the astronauts board the shuttle that morning and wondering, “Where are the women astronauts?”
“But nobody here listens to me,” Saul lamented as he tried to explain why he was in my office yet again this week. “I don’t know why I even bother to come here.” His refrain is a familiar one in my large, suburban high school. I have a feeling it’s a familiar one in high schools across the country. Our kids are crying out to be heard, and unfortunately, those cries often result in disciplinary referrals.
Alabama’s new law—with provisions against hiring, harboring or transporting undocumented immigrants—is bad enough for adults. But it is potentially disastrous for kids.
Whitman yearned to shout from the roof. His barbaric yawp. Me too. For right now I am sitting on the grass, my back resting against a fence, wanting to yawp from atop the Gateway Arch. Everyone, Listen. I know you’re all excited about the Cardinals-Cubs series starting at Busch in a few hours, but run over to Tilles Park and see Bryan because he’s up at bat. Right now.
As a student teacher, my mentor Paula told me that the best teachers were lifelong learners. Following her own wisdom, she took fiddle lessons every week. She practiced daily. Be a student—of anything—she said. That way you'll always empathize with those you are trying to teach.
For the last three days, I've been learning complex choreographed dances right along with my students. I am being schooled in my mentor's lesson and in dance.
One clear advantage of extracurricular activities is that they tend to get students’ undivided attention. Most young people have a real connection to their sports team, choir, theater group or other organization. The coach, director or advisor enjoy unique opportunities to see students really concentrate on a consistent basis. This creates a powerful opportunity for us as educators when it comes to issues of diversity. We can model fairness, equity and inclusion, as well as provide experiences for our students to be exposed to positive diversity messages.
Throughout the summer months, Teaching Tolerance will present a series of lessons using photographs to teach about social justice. Each lesson will focus on a contemporary social justice issue. The lessons are multidisciplinary and geared toward middle and high school students. A new lesson will be posted online each week from June 6 through Aug. 22.
Billy was 7 years old when he walked through the door of my second- grade classroom. The cowlick in his hair wouldn't stay down. His shirt and shorts didn't match. He wore dark socks with his sneakers. He was clumsy, stumbling daily over table legs and chairs. Each time he spoke, his voice started softly and gradually got louder and louder until it ended in a yell.