Differences, a chance to Celebrate (and learn)

In my future career I realize the importance of working as a team with the other teachers in the building. I plan on viewing my coworkers as resource. I plan on collaborating with the other teachers in my grade. I once talked to a teacher who “swapped classes” with another teacher for some lessons. They did not have to plan as many lessons and they were able to use the other teacher’s strengths. This requires a good relationship with coworkers. I realize, though, that it is not always easy to work with others, especially when there are major differences between you.

My training at my internship with the Milwaukee County Zoo talked about how to address differences with coworkers. One of the things that stuck with me was that when a coworker does something that frustrates you, it is necessary to give them the benefit of the doubt and try to steer away from the idea that the other person did this on purpose. They gave us situations and let us role play how to communicate frustrations and then analyze it. I found this very beneficial. Communicating frustrations may seem difficult, but it will help to keep situations from escalating.

With students, it is important to identify and celebrate individual and cultural differences. I would like to hold conferences with the students and their parents before the start of the school year. Through discussion, I hope to learn about the students, and their background. I hope to find out things about them and their differences. I then would like to promote an accepting environment by celebrating differences and helping the children to learn about each other and their cultures. By learning about each other and showing how “different” is not synonymous with “bad”. I also plan on using my identification of differences to modify my curriculum and teaching style.

I expect that I will have students with diverse cultural backgrounds in my classroom. I remember being a kid and not always understanding the children who I thought were different than me. Whether it was the way they looked, the way they acted, or the way they learned, I remember thinking it or they were “weird”. I was raised to be polite, so I never commented or discussed these things, but I do not think that this is a good way to handle it. I think that allowing a space where children can ask questions, learn about each other’s cultures, and celebrate differences will help everyone feel comfortable. We do not live in a “colorblind” society, though we may like to think that we do. People recognize differences in each other, instead of pretending we don’t, I think it is important to learn about the differences and seeing the beauty in the difference.

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