So today, I saw social justice in action on my way to class, and it happened to me. To preface this, I broke my foot the other day and this is my first time walking on campus/for an extended period of time since it happened. On my way from the YMCA building to the front door of Old Main, a guy noticed me and asked where I was going. I told him and he told me to take off my backpack and hand it over since “it’s way too cold for anyone to be struggling”. He then walked with me all the way from there to room 2070, stopping when I needed to catch my breath and waiting around when I had to sit down to rest my hip/good foot. Even though he could’ve easily just ignored me and went on his way to his class, he took the time out of his day to help out someone with a diversity that was having problems with mobility. Not only did he do all that, but he was very encouraging the whole way by reminding me how far I had gotten and how close we were to the classroom. I say all of this to say that not only are there good people in this world, but there are people that are socially conscious and understand that sometimes people with different issues or abilities might need a little help to get to the same level as where everyone else might be and will do what they can to make sure the other person has the chance to succeed, even in something as small and trivial as making it to class.
With November coming to an end, and with it the end of the semester, I have found myself doing a lot of reflection on the past ~16 weeks of classes. I have learned so much in my classes, especially about diversity. Not even just in this course, but many of my courses. I have more ideas than ever about how to make everyone in my classes feel included and get the best education possible. From how to rearrange my classroom to make sure that students with attention issues can focus to including historical people from minority groups in my lessons and how these seemingly little things can improve absolutely everything for a student. I am trying to keep all of these things I have learned in mind as I do final projects for other education classes as well as doing my curriculum design project, because while it may just be an assignment my hypothetical students deserve the same ideas and respect as my real students will one day.
I think I learned a lot from the “I See, I Think, I Feel” group meeting we did in class. The idea of taking the time to work out issues and talk to each other, and to see things from each other’s perspectives, is nice and I can see implementing this into smaller classes. And even if you have a bigger class, you can do it on a smaller scale with groups or peer mediation. With this practice your students can not only talk about what issues they may have, but they can have others help them out by giving them a different point of view. And in my opinion, this is important not just to help keep things equal and open the students’ eyes to what things might be like for their peer, but it also gives them skills for outside of school.
Election times are a special kind of time, aren’t they? This week held the midterm elections, which decided who would run the Senate and the House. There was so many monumental wins for persons with diversities from the traditional old, straight, white, male politician, and I can already think of a million ways to incorporate them and their stories into various classrooms. If students that are LGBT, women, Native, or Muslim can see that they too have representation and could even one day represent their people themselves, it opens up so many doors for them. It not only can boost their self identity and self worth, which will help them succeed in class, but they might even push themselves harder so that that could be them some day! It is very important for people to see people that actually represent them, representing them. And I can see how you can incorporate in classrooms by making sure to include people that have excelled in the field that are of all different genders and backgrounds and races.
This week, with having to turn in the Interventions Plan video, has opened my eyes once again to ways I can implore diversity and help in my classrooms. I had never thought about things like how seating can help students feel included and safe, let alone how it may help students with ADHD because of where their seat is in relation to “distracters” like the pencil sharpener. It makes me just that much more excited to get into my own classroom and rearrange desks and find ways to motive my students by letting them know what I expect of them every day. I want to know what they expect of me as well, and hopefully it will make my classroom not only feel safe, but supportive. Like we are all motivating each other and learning from each other every single day.
Last week, I did not get to go to my observations. I was looking forward to it this week though, especially since I have to work on my Interventions Plan assignment. Thinking about how to incorporate everything into a plan and into a classroom to hopefully be as inclusive as possible is nerve wracking, but so important. When I went this week, as always I was blown away by the Early College High School. No matter what they are doing in the classroom, it’s done in a way that is more student focused and better than any other school I’ve ever experienced. I know that when I really get into my Intervention assignment due this week, I will probably model some of it after what I have seen there. That school is an inspiration in so many ways.