29 June 2011

All Kinds of People

One of the things that’s so fascinating about teaching is the number of people that you meet.  At my school I don’t meet just students; I also meet lots of other teachers, most of whom do things very differently in their classrooms than I ever would or could.  I couldn’t even imagine structuring my classes the ways they approach theirs, or working the ways they do, or managing discipline problems the ways they do.  And there was a time in my life when that would have bothered me, when I would have wondered how they could possibly be so unenlightened that they weren’t doing things the way that I do things.

That’s in my past now, though.  I recognize now that one of the most valuable parts of having so many different people doing things in such different ways is that our students are exposed to a variety of methods for dealing with issues and problems, and they can see that no one method is necessarily better or more effective.  I’ve chosen my methods because they fit who I am as a person, because they feel more genuine to me as a human being.  But other teachers need to find their own methods, and those methods have to fit who they are as human beings.  The world is an incredibly and beautifully diverse place, and that diversity requires us to do things that are true and unique to ourselves, if we’re to honor that diversity.

So when I hear that another person has chosen to deal with problems in a way that I never would choose, I now don’t think of concepts like “right” and “wrong.”  I don’t think that the person should have chosen another way (unless it’s obvious that they’ve harmed someone with their actions).  Now I look for the wisdom in their choice, and I try to keep in mind that just because something doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean that it’s not completely right for someone else.

You are who you are, and I am who I am.  I’ll let you be who you are, and I hope that you’ll let me be who I am.  And just because I like chocolate ice cream doesn’t mean that I’ll expect you to like it, too.  Because you are a beautiful and unique creation of our creator, and you’ve been given your own tastes, your own ways of looking at things.  And when you’re true to who you are, you’re contributing something quite beautiful to our world.  And why would I want to change that?

Diversity is not about how we differ.
Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness.

Ola Joseph

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