As an educator, I take great responsibility in the fact that in my classroom, and throughout the building, I am entrusted by my students to stand up for them in situations of exclusion, prejudice, and injustice. I feel that, since students look up to their teachers so much, we should be held to a higher standard than most citizens when it comes to the rights and treatment of others. No matter what the socioeconomic status of an educators school is, they should be aware of the critical racial–economic issues that influence schooling and multiple strategies for addressing these issues (Rivera 2005).
In Struthers’ article, Human Rights: A Topic Too Controversial for Mainstream Education?, we see that teaching human rights education (HRE) is more beneficial to us as a society when taught to younger students. Struthers said “…the possibility that learners will have ingrained prejudices by the time in later education when these issues are traditionally confronted can be minimized. The provision of HRE is, therefore, important for shaping the attitudes that will contribute to the development of a human rights culture based upon the values of freedom, equality, dignity, non-discrimination and tolerance” (Struthers 2016). When we teach tolerance and acceptance to students at a young age, that becomes when they teach others. As educators we teach something called the “unwritten curriculum”. It’s not something you’ll see in your state’s Common Core standards, or in your districts individual curriculum, but it’s something that we all do in our classrooms everyday. By creating class environments built on support, love, and care, we are teaching a version of HRE to our students. When they see the way we treat others, it becomes the way they internalize is how they are supposed to treat others.
Poplin, M., & Rivera, J. (2005). Merging Social Justice and Accountability: Educating Qualified and Effective Teachers. Theory Into Practice,44(1), 27-37. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4401_5
Struthers, A. E. (2016). Human Rights: A Topic Too Controversial for Mainstream Education? Human Rights Law Review,16(1), 131-162. doi:10.1093/hrlr/ngv040