Monday, January 30, 2012

Diversity Begins with Us

In my Introduction to Teaching course, we were talking about diversity. The term 'diversity' has a much fuller and expanded meaning than it did when I started teaching 33 years ago. We thought the diversity in educational settings was the exception in our area of the country. Now we know it is always the rule. It should have been the rule 33 years ago, but it took a while for many people to incorporate it into their thinking. Some are still working at it.
One of the things about diversity in an educational setting is how we look at ourselves. Do our actions show what we think we believe about acceptance? I worked with a teacher once who would bragged about how accepting she was of every child. It was confusing to me to watch her exhibit a very short temper to any non-white student she had in her class. The children of color in her room were the ones always in time-out and being punished in some way. She also had very low expectations for these children. The sad issue is that I think she truly believed she was accepting of diversity and differences. Her actions did not mirror what she thought she believed.
Diversity includes:
* culture
* language
* gender
* ability differences
* exceptionalities
I'm glad we have realized that accepting others includes more than just ethnicity or culture. As educators, we need to continually look within and make sure that our actions reflect the belief that ALL children are welcome at the table and are equally special.

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