A great article – we must learn to see our students’ humanity!
“We all have these students, these Others, in every class we teach. Sometimes it’s obvious who they are (such as the kid who has grand mal seizures on the playground)– and sometimes we’re not even aware of who we’ve made into the Other.
Meeting the needs of all students starts with honing an awareness of who we make Other — who we see as fundamentally different from us, who we’ve closed off our hearts to. For some, those others might be members of a specific ethnic or racial group; they might be recent immigrants who don’t speak English, or they might be transgender children or homeless children or extremely high energy boys. Meeting the needs of all students starts with having hard conversations with ourselves about our own biases.
This year, be honest with yourself. Identify a student (or a group of students) who you’ve made Other and then invite one of them to lunch. Push yourself to connect, to listen, to see whom he or she really is. Meeting the needs of all students starts with knowing who your students are.
I also encourage you to reflect on who you are coming into this work of teaching children: Who are the groups of students that you’re especially dedicated to supporting? Who do you identify with or particularly empathize with? Being aware of this commitment can embolden us and keep us connected to our core values, as well as help us bridge the gaps of difference.
May all children be raised by a lioness and a lion; may all students be taught by a teacher who sees their full humanity.”