My students are my children while they are with me for the short ninety minutes that I have with them daily. A student once told me, "We are a family." I could not have said it better myself. We are a family, and we grow and learn together over ten months that pass by way too quickly. My students enjoy learning skills that will truly benefit them in the real world and we brainstorm how those skills we cover in class can be applied to real life. Learning is more meaningful and they begin to understand that the purpose is important when you look at the big picture. Our learning environment is not one-sided; I learn just as much from them as I hope they are learning from me as well as from each other.
I value the diverse population of the students I teach.
Without the differences in ethnicity, culture, religion and background, my classroom might be stagnant. Each student brings his or her own "flavor" to our group allowing us to better understand why differences are important and should be respected in a world where differences are many times undervalued and disrespected.
My students usually agree with me that reading is a skill that will last a lifetime in many different scenarios. Novel studies with my class allow me the opportunity to foster a love of literature and a love of learning throughout the school year. The novels I have selected to read with my class focus on diversity, allowing us as a group to explore deeper into ethnic, religious, cultural, and background differences of the characters. My goal is not only to develop a love for reading, but to develop an appreciation and a true respect for differences in our classroom, our school, our city, nation and world. Most of my students are well aware of stereotypes among specific populations. Using literature is a powerful way to teach and encourage them to practice empathy and get past exterior appearances and labels. The specific novels I've requested easily lend themselves to explore deeper into current events and how these events affect us on a more personal level. Much can be shared, and my room is a safe haven for doing just that.
There is nothing better than watching my students open up their novels, eager to read on and find out what happens next.
Their connections to the characters and events are limitless.
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