Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teaching Individuality, Diversity, and Acceptance in a Hate-Filled World



Last summer, when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the United States, it stirred up heated conversation with the people in my life, as I'm sure it did to many. I found myself discussing the ruling at length with one lady, in particular. She is someone I greatly admire. She is an amazing mother to her children and has taken on the responsibility of being their primary educator in life - even more so than every other parent - by choosing to homeschool her children. She is intelligent, creative, and capable; she is one of those women who will be very successful in homeschooling. I truly respect her, because she is doing what she knows in her heart is right for her family.

It is also worth mentioning, I think, that her family is very religious and very conservative. She is someone who was quite upset by the Supreme Court's ruling. She is not a hateful person; she is a godly woman and she had trouble accepting this ruling because it goes against something she believes strongly. So when I mentioned that I was glad for the ruling because it would give me a cue for how to handle such topics in the classroom, she was appalled.

I'm paraphrasing here, but our conversation was something like this:

"What do you mean about handling those topics in the classroom? Those topics have no business in a classroom," she said.

"Well, those topics do come up quite frequently, as most any topic will in a public school classroom."

"That's why my children won't go to a public school. Teachers have no business forcing their beliefs on students. That's just wrong."

And that's when I got a little steamed, to be honest.



To me, we teach a lot more than science and math and grammar in the classroom. Most of us try very hard to teach empathy, broadened horizons, courtesy, tolerance, and compassion. We teach students to celebrate differences, not to belittle them. Character education is not "forcing my beliefs on students," because that would be wrong. You don't have to be religious to teach morals, to teach right from wrong.

And it is wrong to hate.

It is wrong to bully.

It is wrong to terrorize.

It is wrong to victimize.

She agreed with me that those things were wrong. But...

"Teachers should just let parents do the parenting."

Not all kids are blessed to have amazing, involved parents. If their parents won't teach them right from wrong, who will? I try to celebrate all walks of life in my classroom because, frankly, I might be the only Jesus someone sees all day (as Elizabeth from Teaching Sam and Scout so eloquently put it once... that phrase has stuck with me in a profound way). I refuse to be part of the problem by saying, "Not my kid. Not my problem."

* * *

So why am I bringing this up a year later?

Because, teachers and parents, it is time for us to up our game.

So many atrocious acts motivated by pure hatred have happened in the world this summer. France is a nation under attack as innocent people are being slaughtered in public venues. Bombings in Baghdad and Istanbul have created an enraged and frightened populace. And then there's the United States, where hatred has taken the form of gay night club shootings, racism manifesting among some of the people we should be able to trust with our lives, and the favor being returned in malicious acts of violence against innocent men who just so happen to wear the same uniform as their bigoted colleagues.

If we, the teachers and the parents of young and impressionable minds, choose to say, "Not my problem," then when and where will the hatred ever end?

Okay, so Daenerys isn't exactly the poster child for kindness to all people, what with setting her enemies on fire and such, but the quote is solid.


According to this article from Simply Psychology, there are four main explanations for prejudice and discrimination: authoritarian personality, realistic conflict theory, stereotyping, and social identity theory, with conformity being a possible fifth explanation. And according to this article from American Psychological Association, "racism in all its horrific forms is transmitted across generations and is manifested in individual behaviors, institutional norms and practices, and cultural values and patterns." It would appear according to these articles that prejudice, discrimination, and racism can, to a great extent, be extinguished in a community, but this takes a great deal of time and effort. Parents and teachers are the people who have the greatest influence in a child's life. It is our responsibility to change the world for the better, and we can do that through our children and our students.

Teachers, we must teach our students to be good. We must teach them to be kind. We must teach them that a person is a person, no matter how small. We must teach them to appreciate their own individuality, to be fascinated by diversity, and to cultivate a heart full of acceptance.

If you're on board with me, you may be wondering how. How do we do this big, giant thing? We teach it the same way we teach most things - we question, we analyze, we model, we think critically, we discuss. We powerfully enforce kindness by creating a classroom environment called Love One Another or I Will Destroy You and insisting that "everyone... has value and beauty and a story that would make you cry if you knew it." (Teach is so much more eloquent than I will ever be.) We teach books with diverse characters, and we study the ugly sides of history and wonder what went wrong and why people hated other people the way they did. We look at 2016: The Summer of Hate with our students and we question it and we discuss it and we create solutions that we can start enacting in our own classrooms. Teachers, we have the power to make a difference in the lives of our students and in our communities.

Source

* * *

I am upping my game this year, and I need help doing it. I have developed a literature circles unit called "Stepping Into Someone Else's Shoes: A Diversity Study via Literature." I need help making this happen for my students. I have created a DonorsChoose project to get the novels I need for this unit of study. If you have in some way been helped by the free materials or the posts here at Eat.Write.Teach., I would be eternally grateful if you would contribute a teensy weensy donation to my cause (seriously, any little bit helps) or if you would just share my project with folks you think could help me out.

If my project becomes a reality and we are able to do the literature circles unit, I will share the entire unit (adaptable for use with any books about individuality, diversity, and acceptance) and all materials that go along with it COMPLETELY FREE both here and on my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


Click here to help my classroom!

Guys, I have a heart for this. I am truly passionate about this topic. As the mother of a little boy who is part of this big world too, I believe in this. As the friend and bridesmaid of a dear friend of mine who was able to marry her girlfriend and love of her life last December, I believe in this. As the teacher of 170 students in a rural little community who needs a bigger window into the world, I believe in this. As the director of forty drama club kids who don't fit in anywhere else and who have been victimized time and again because of ignorance, I believe in this.



I hope you believe in this too.

With love,

22 comments:

  1. Nothing is eagerly awaited by each of your new posts.
    lucky patcher apk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Character education is very important nowadays, with our world becoming more hating because of social media factors. People are more vocal with their feelings without analyzing the situation first. Students from order college essays here are being taught to manage their emotions properly.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the great post. I’m a big fan of your writing style.aussieessay.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. Last January, I sat on my bed in a hotel room downtown Des Moines. I stared out the window for hours. Just thinking. I stared at this view – this incredible view – night after night. I watched snow fall and moons glow. I journaled and prayed; shed tears of fear and happiness. Just as easy as risk is for me to take, change is equally hard. These days were no different. islamic books

    ReplyDelete
  5. Before I knew it some teachers gave entire classes in English, and my cerebral cortex handled them just fine. The more I paid attention, the more words seemed approachable; they were no longer out to trick me with their intricate spelling and deceptive definitions. I thought in two languages, dreamt in two languages, and kept them side by side at all times. unified workspace services

    ReplyDelete
  6. There's some clients on the nutritional balancing program that wake up each night at about the same time. Some clients also wake every hour. To shed some light as to why this occurs, it would be a good idea to start looking at the time you do wake up. women's clothing online

    ReplyDelete
  7. GLOBAL HACKS★

    If Truly you Are In Need Of A LEGIT HACKER Who Will Get Your Job Done Efficiently With Swift Response, Congratulations, You Have Met the Right HACKERS.

    WHO ARE THE GLOBALHACKERS.
    • We are a Team Of Professional HACKERS , a product of the coming together of Legit Hackers from the Dark-Web, (pentaguard,CyberBerkut, RedHack , Black Hat, White Hack ) we have been existing for over 12years, our system is a very Strong and decentralized command structure that operates on ideas and directives.

    JOB GUARANTEE:
     •  Frankly speaking, We always give a 100% guarantee on any job we are been asked to do, because we have always been successful in Almost all our jobs for over 12years and our clients can testify to that . To hack any thing needs time though, but we can provide a swift response to your job depending on how fast and urgent you need it. Time also depends on what exactly you want to hack and how serious you are. Enough time with social engineering is required for hacking. So if you want to bind us in a short time, then just don't contact us because We can't hack within 30minutes,*sorry*. Basically, time depends on your luck. If its good luck, then it is possible to hack within 30minutes but, if it is in the other way round, it would take few hours. I have seen FAKE HACKERS claiming they can hack in 30min, 20min , but there is no REAL HACKER who can say this (AVOID THEM).
    Please Note : we have only one contact email : globalhacktech(at)gmaildotcom

    We will be happy to have you join over 2000 satisfied clients around the world to use our services. 

    OUR HACKING CAPABILITIES: 
    There are so many Reasons why people need to hire a hacker, It might be to Hack a Websites to deface , retrieve information, edit information or give you admin access Some people might need us for Hacking any smart phone giving you access to all activities on the phone like , text messages , call logs , Social media Apps and other informations. Some might need to Hack a Facebook , gmail, yahoomail, Instagram , twitter and every other social network Accounts, Some might need to Hack into Court's Database to Clear criminal records. However we can also Hack into school's websites (server) to change grades without any trace, Also Some Individuals might want to Track someone else's Location probably for investigation cases.
       All these Are what we can get Done withing few hours.

    SOME OTHER SPECIAL SERVICES WE OFFER:
    ★ Hacking and sales of  Programmed credit cards & CREDIT CARD TOP-UP
    ★ Sales of untraceable phones (even the pentagon can not track our phones)
    ★ Sales of Tutorial packs for Beginner Ethical Hackers.

    ★ You can also contact us for other Cyber Attacks And Hijackings, we do almost All.

    ★Contact Us for Your Desired Service: globalhacktech(at)gmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really loved reading your blog. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well! Send Gifts To pakistan

    ReplyDelete
  9. Find advanced digital marketing services like SEO,SMO,PPC. With Web Development, Web Designing,e-commerce site & Mobile App Development in Delhi & across India You can reach us: Digital Marketing Services in Delhi, Digital Marketing Company in Delhi, Digital Marketing Company in India, Digital Marketing Services in India, Smart Digital Work
    Digital Marketing Company in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.
    health care tips

    ReplyDelete
  11. Expert SMO, Internet Marketing & Social Media Marketing (SMM) Service Provider Company in Delhi & Across India at cheap price. Visit on SMARTDIGITALWORK.COM, You can search us on Google: Social Media Marketing Services in Delhi, Smo Services in Delhi, Social Media Marketing Services India, Social Media Marketing Company India, Social Media Marketing Agency in Delhi
    Social Media Marketing Agency in Delhi

    ReplyDelete

  12. Find PPC advertising agency, Google Adwords & Pay Per Click (PPC) Services Company in Delhi & Across India at SmartDigitalWork. On cheap price send your query. And you can reach us: PPC Services Company India, Pay Per Click Services India, PPC Services in Delhi, PPC Services Company in Delhi
    PPC Services Company India

    ReplyDelete
  13. hello, this is Tina from Tanzania. I really like your post and every time I am following your posts. please continue this it's a great job.
    Content Marketing Services Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  14. hi, I am so happy to see this much informative post. its very useful post for everyone at any age. I am waiting for your new posts.
    link building services delhi

    ReplyDelete
  15. oh, my god... I really thank you all for all your posts especial for this one. its great job and continue in this way. I m waiting for your new works. danish from

    America.
    Content Writing Services India

    ReplyDelete
  16. Find PPC, Google Adwords & Pay Per Click (PPC) Services Provider Company in Delhi & across India at cheap price & affordable services Only on SMARTDIGITALWORK.COM. Send your query hurry up and you can reach us on Google: PPC Services Company India, PPC Services Company in Delhi, PPC Services in Delhi, Pay Per Click Services India
    PPC Services Company in Delhi

    ReplyDelete
  17. SMARTDIGITALWORK.COM - Offers digital marketing services like seo, smo, ppc. With web development, web designing, e-commerce site & mobile app development in Delhi &

    across India. You can reach us: digital marketing services in India, digital marketing services in Delhi, digital marketing company in Delhi, digital marketing company

    in India, smart digital work
    Digital Marketing Company in India

    ReplyDelete