The article written by Gerri August, Making Room for One Another, raises many questions and challenges educators face on a daily basis. Most educational ideologies involve an equitable education for all where learning communities are fostered to ensure success for all.
As an educator I strive to make all children feel comfortable and welcome in my classroom by pointing out differences in people and then talking about those differences. I find the younger the children are, the more likely they are to agree with the idea that being different is ok and that we are all the same on the inside even if we look different on the outside. But as great as that may sound, I don't know how genuine it really is. In other words, do children really believe what we tell them or is it that they have been preconditioned already? Are they just playing their role in society's norms and for how long? We teach (or preach) that differences don't matter in a world where differences do matter! Is it better to act as if prejudices don't exist, as if we all feel the same about everything or everyone all the time? When do you address why differences do matter to some and why in 2010 there are wars being fought because of people's differences?
In August's article, he follows a boy who is Cambodian by definition but who has been adopted by two homosexual women. Something that first struck me was the fact that Cody felt insecure about his family or rather felt insecure in how others would accept his family. It's typical to discuss family, to listen/read stories about family and to exchange stories about our families. To have a child feel as if he can't share that because it isn't something that's ever been discussed or shared, is sad to say the least. Cody felt like there was a problem when his moms were coming in to school and he felt like his world was wrong. How do we as educators really raise the issue of differences? How do we begin the change necessary to ensure that all children succeed?