Create an Inclusive Classroom

Teachers Can Make their Class a Safe Space for All Students- Regardless of Race

With the recent protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, many of us are asking ourselves “What can I do?”  

Every person is powerful. What you choose to do now, matters. As a teacher, you are in an especially powerful place to influence the future of society. This list shares practical ways that you can use your influence to encourage a classroom (and society) of acceptance, love, and awareness. Follow the list to get started on your journey towards a more loving classroom. 

These tips are directed towards those who have not experienced racism, and/or whose main student population is not diverse. Every teacher has a responsibility to help open young minds to the value of diversity.

Educate Yourself 

    In order to educate others, you must first seek to understand. Do you know what it means to experience racism? If you don’t know what it’s like: read books, watch movies, and learn more about it. It might feel overwhelming or you might not know where to start, so in the resources section below, we've shared some media to help you get started on the path of awareness. 

     

    Represent Diversity 

      Your classroom is a habitat for learning. What you put on the walls, what you put on the shelves, and what you put on the door all influences your students. I can still remember some of the posters and décor that my high school teachers had in their classrooms- and I was only in each classroom for 3-5 hours a week! No matter how short of a time your students are in your class each day, over the course of the school year they spend a lot of time with you and in your classroom. 

      Ways you can create a diversity-friendly classroom: 

      • Include multiple ‘people colors’ in art supplies (e.g. dark brown, tan, and peach crayons) 
      • Add more diversity to your library (check out the resources for recommended books!) 
      • Invite people of color to talk to your class- not just about race related topics (e.g. career day could have doctors, businesspeople, police officers, scientists, etc) 
      • Talk about historical figures of all races and genders, in more time periods than just the Civil War era and during the Civil Rights Movement; inspiring people of color lived throughout history! 

      You can influence children by showing them more than stereotypes. Show them examples of people of color in different careers, in history, and in person. In your classroom, you can remind students through the media you share that each person is a worthwhile individual regardless of race or gender.

       

      Talk about Racism 

        Although it can be difficult to approach the topic of racism, either in or out of the classroom, it's vital for change. Be open and honest.

        You will need to do your own research to know how to appropriately talk with your class. Based on the ages of your students you may need to keep the discussion simplified, or be prepared to lead an in-depth discussion and provide additional resources so your students can learn on their own. Either way, be prepared to guide your class so it is a positive experience.

        You aren't just a teacher though. You're a person! As an adult you talk with other adults. Use your influence in the breakroom, at your church, around friends, and with your family when you can. Being open about racism means condemning the past, while hoping for a better future. It means admitting to ourselves if (or when) we have participated in racist behavior or acted on negative biases, or when we could have done better. It means committing to doing better as individuals. It means having difficult conversations. It means that you’ve decided Black Lives Matter too, and you stand for equality. 

         

        Educate Yourself Resources 

        Books 

        Movies 

        TV Shows 

        Podcasts 

        Other media 

         

        Represent Diversity Resources 

        Books 

        Books on Historical People of Color 

        Movies 

        TV Shows 

        Talk about Racism Resources 

        Articles 

         

        Article by Miss Jenna

         

         

        The content of Teacher Power’s website is for information only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Teacher Power is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those taking Teacher Power products, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Teacher Power gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness or applicability of the content.

        Leave a comment

        Please note, comments must be approved before they are published