17

Sep

Community 27 – a microcosm of our world

 

It is the first week of school and twenty-one eager learners sit before me, each one unique in their own way.  Twenty-one unfamiliar faces, twenty-one unfamiliar names, some of which I am unsure of how to pronounce yet, but I will learn.  Each year at this time I hearken back to elementary school when being a girl with the name Jae was nothing short of torture.  Once the teacher got over the initial shock that I was female, it wasn’t too bad, but heaven forbid there would be a substitute it would all surface again.  The dreaded roll call:  “Jae, is Jae here? Where is he.”  This was quickly followed up with jeers and pointing from classmates.  The hole I wanted to fall in would stubbornly refuse to gobble me up.

Now that I am on the other side, I do not make any prejudgments regarding my student’s genders or the pronunciation of their names.  I have learned to just ask.  We all introduce ourselves and we practice the correct pronunciation with the help of our classmates.  We give each other permission to make mistakes while we learn, but we also give permission to be corrected until we get it right.

I am starting to learn about student’s backgrounds, native lands, languages and idiosyncrasies.  I feel so blessed to be surrounded by diversity. The classroom is a microcosm of our world and as such it gives us innumerable opportunities to learn to respect each other as we learn and grow together.