As a teacher, I watch the news regarding immigration (legal and illegal) and I reflect on how it has affected my classroom.
I have been a teacher in Northeast Georgia for 7 years. When I began teaching, my classroom demographic was predominantly made up of Caucasian students. However, over my years in the classroom that demographic has changed so that my class now is very diverse with students from a variety of races and cultures.
I’ve learned many things over the years in a classroom and have pursued professional development in order to be a better teacher for my students. One thing I have noticed though is the lack of multicultural professional development provided to teachers and as a result the lack of multicultural education provided to students. The curriculum, textbooks, and books assigned for reading in many classrooms largely reflect the points of view (historically, politically, religiously, etc.) of the Caucasian experience. I believe there needs to be an intentional shift in education toward multicultural education and the inclusion of a variety of races and cultures in the classroom curriculum.
Students are more likely to engage in content and participate in class when they feel a personal connection to the topics or understand its value and importance. By ignoring the multicultural demographics of our classroom, we essentially ostracized students who do not see themselves or their way of life in their classrooms.
Students of all races, cultures, religions, etc., should see themselves reflected in the content taught in their classroom. We are doing a disservice to students by ignoring the rich and vibrant multicultural community that has grown in the Northeast Georgia area within the last decade. As educators, our job is to teach all students who enter our classroom. Every race, culture, and religion represented has value and importance in who we are as a community, a state and a country. We can all learn from each other and I think it is important for teachers to lead the way in the classroom.