ONE TEACHER’S ALPHABET
I is for Inclusive
I would like my teaching this year to be inclusive. I want my classroom to be entirely “open”, so that all people, all thoughts, all feelings, and all truths can be welcomed. I have a sign on my door welcoming visitors, and I guess I mean that in the broadest sense. In my English class, we don’t exclude. We don’t shut out certain opinions or feelings. We admit, and cordially greet, life in all its eccentricity and intricacy. This, of course, doesn’t mean that I permit any kind of behavior during class. On the contrary, because of the atmosphere of inclusiveness, only welcoming behavior is allowed – the kind of behavior that makes everyone feel comfortable and cherished and even honored. Meanness and rudeness is behavior aimed at rejecting others – excluding them – and for that reason is forbidden in my classroom. The word “accomodate” might help explain what I’m describing here. I hope my English classes will “have room” for every type of student, every sort of idea, and every shade of feeling. When the students walk down the hall toward my room, I want them to have a feeling of total acceptance and approval. Like travelers looking for a place to stay, I want them to feel they have found an accomodating “hotel” for an hour, an inclusive place where acknowledgment, not rejection, is the prevailing premise.