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What is my definition of diversity?

My definition of diversity is a group of people, of any size, having people who come
from a wide range of backgrounds, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, culture, religion,
gender, sexuality, beliefs, and ideology. Importantly, for diversity to exist within a group, I
believe that the members within that group must be free to express themselves as authentically as
they feel comfortable/are willing. A group may consist of diverse members, but it takes the
authentic expression to actually be diverse.

Do the children in my classroom and school come from diverse cultural backgrounds?

Yes, the students in my classroom do come from diverse cultural backgrounds. During
the 2017-18 school year I taught at a school, Uplift Mighty, that contained students from a wide
variety of cultures and backgrounds. Despite a large majority of my students being similar
racially, an intersectional viewpoint shows that they demonstrate great diversity. During the
2018-19 school year I am teaching at a school, Uplift Ascend, that is nearby my previous school,
and is similarly diverse.

What are my perceptions of students from different racial or ethnic groups? With
language or dialects different from mine? With special needs?

My perception of every student that I interact with is that they are all unique, and that
they all add tremendous value to the classroom. This remains true when those differences are
racial, ethnic, language, or special needs, and I know that very often people have more in
common with people who may not check off the same boxes as themselves demographically.
Because of this, I try to connect with these students just as I would any other student. Each
student contributes to the classroom in different ways, and each of those ways is vital in the
creation of a positive and effective learning environment. Furthermore, I feel that it is my
responsibility to create an environment in which students who are different from me feel
comfortable expressing themselves fully and authentically. As mentioned above, this is how a
classroom goes from having diverse students to being diverse, truly unlocking its maximum
potential.

What are the sources of these perceptions (e.g., friends, relatives, television, movies)?

The greatest influence of these perceptions would be my parents. I grew up in a very


homogenous suburb, where it can be easy to grow up without an appreciation/desire for being in
diverse environments with people who may not present similarly to yourself. My parents were
always incredibly kind and generous to everyone and made sure that my siblings and myself
valued and emulated that kindness. They also made sure that we did not grow up insulated from
places outside of our town, making sure that we met and interacted with many different people,
from different places and walks of life so that we learned from an early age to look for that
common bond and value that different people can share.

How do I respond to my students based on these perceptions?


I do my best to respond to all of my students the same way. It is often difficult to tell if
you are responding to students differently in the moment. I believe that I am mostly successful
in this effort. I have, on occasion, caught myself lowering my expectations for students that I
know to be going through different challenges/difficulties, and hope that with more practice I
will be better able to support those students without having to fight the reflex to lower
expectations.

Have I experienced others’ making assumptions about me based on my membership in a


specific group? How did I feel?

I have experienced others making assumptions about me based on my membership to a


specific group. Beyond stating the obvious of it didn’t feel good, it was the sense of helplessness
that I found truly upsetting. The knowledge that there were no words or actions that could, in
that moment (or the near future), disprove or change those assumptions frustrated me greatly.

What steps do I need to take to learn about the students from diverse backgrounds in my
school and classroom?

The first step that I need to take to learn about the students from diverse backgrounds in
my school and classroom is to get to know them. Ignorance is the soil from which all manner of
negativity blooms, including hate, intolerance, and indifference. Knowledge of the student as a
whole being yields drive, inclusion, and celebration.

How often do social relationships develop among students from different racial or ethnic
backgrounds in my classroom and in the school? What is the nature of these relationships?

Social relationships amongst students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds
develop quite frequently in my classroom and, sometimes to a lesser extent, the school. I have
noticed that the students are more likely to separate themselves by race during lunch than at any
other part of the day. I believe that the shelter of the classroom allows students to develop those
relationships, and that some work still needs to be done extend those relationships beyond the
classroom and the campus.

In what ways do I make my instructional program responsive to the needs of the diverse
groups in my classroom?

I make my instructional program responsive to the needs of the diverse groups in my


classroom by making sure that my curriculum is diverse in subject matter, material, and theme. I
teach a unit on the Social Model of Disability, which gives the students the tools to dramatically
shift their perspectives. I also make sure to utilize differentiation and Universal Design of
Learning to make sure that all students are receiving quality instruction in a manner in which
they are able to digest. I accomplish this through careful planning, utilizing a wide range of
examples/exemplars, utilizing data, and making sure that students are engaged verbally, aurally,
visually, and kinetically.
What kinds of information, skills, and resources do I need to acquire to effectively teach
from a multicultural perspective?

In order to improve my teaching, in a multicultural perspective, there are several things


that I would like to do/have. The first of those things is to begin to learn Spanish. I believe that
relationships with students are parents would be vastly improved by my, not only learning
Spanish, but demonstrating the desire and willingness to do so. I also need to continue to attend
trainings and professional development opportunities where I can stay up to date on the most
effective data based instructional methods, including ways in which to implement differentiation,
UDL and intervention.

In what ways do I collaborate with other educators, family members, and community
groups to address the needs of all my students?

In my previous position I did not have much of an opportunity to interact with family
members and community groups. In my current position I plan on engaging student families
quite often. I will do this through positive notes and phone calls home, home visits, and parent
teacher conferences. Additionally, my current school has already held several parent events
where I have gotten the opportunity to build relationships with my future students and their
parents. I will also have a large monthly calendar in my classroom on which I will encourage
students to put events/things that they are doing outside of school, both so that it can be
incorporated into the classroom, and so that I can attend appropriate community functions to
better know the community.