Welcome to the Teaching Tolerance blog, a place where educators who care about diversity, equity and justice can find news, suggestions, conversation and support.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day is just around the corner. Most students report that the Mix It Up experience – taking one lunch hour to sit somewhere new and make friends – is a positive experience that helps reduce tension across social boundaries. Sometimes, though, students are reluctant to participate.
Like many, if not most, I had a rough first year as a teacher. I was 21 years old and full of passion and desire but little else. I had survived student teaching on the Navajo Reservation for six months, but arrived on the other side of that experience with much to learn. I was teaching two-hour blocks of seventh-grade history and English. I was struggling on almost every level in almost every area.
When I first met Graciela Tiscareno-Sato, I was literally living in the wild. In 1991, Grace and I were both students in the U.S. Air Force Survival School, and we spent a week in the forest on the Canadian border, eating ants and worms and trying to make fire with sticks. I was terrible at this stuff, but Lt. Tiscareno – as she was known then – became a “go-to” person for everyone in the unit. She wasn’t much better at starting fires than the rest of us, but her can-do spirit made her feel like someone you could lean on.
Have you ever walked in the same hallway every day -- or driven from point A to point B -- without remembering how you got there, who you passed, or what you saw?
Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. I don’t think anyone can contemplate this date without a mix of strong emotions. But for me, the date always brings a special blend of anger, shame and guilt.
When my daughter was three, she showed up at preschool without her normal braids or twists, her glorious afro present for all to see and celebrate. Her little peers didn’t respond kindly though; they chimed in instead — quite loudly — with criticism: “What’s wrong with Zoe’s hair?”
The beginning of the school year is always filled with excitement, but this year our school initiated a project that is still taking on a life of its own.
A couple of nights ago, I took my daughter to Chuck-E-Cheese, a tradition of ours when her other mother is out of town. We play skee-ball to win long rows of tickets that we later exchange for plastic toys and stickers. We play — it’s our way of lessening how much we miss the Mom who’s not with us.
This particular evening something besides the blinking lights of games caught my eye, though.