One of my favorite aspects of being an educator is when my discussion leaves the topic commas and subject-verb agreement and into a more meaningful comversation about tolerance and patience. At my school, we have an extremely diverse population and most of my students have seen more horrifying events in their short lives than I ever wish to. One of the aspects pf being an educator I take pride in is making my classroom feel like a safe zone: a place where everyone can be comfortable and speak their mind. The relationships that grow in just a short semester are sort of awesome to watch. I try to mix up their seating arrangement every few weeks so they are forced to sit beside new people and at least have a conversation with someone they don't know.
It's not always easy. I've seen a lot of hate in the 4 years I've been teaching, but I have such high aspirations for the future of my students and my school. I feel as if we, the teachers, have built such a strong sense of community that anyone who does not engage in it postively automatically looks like an outcast (in the best, most respectful meaning).
So, on this day in 2011, I want to dedicate this post to advancing our youth and teaching them the importance of tolerance, social decorum, and above all else, respect.