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Summer 2024 - Inclusivity


When people hear that I am a teacher, they often assume that I have the summer off, which is far from the truth. In addition to attending professional development sessions and preparing for the upcoming school year, I dedicate time to researching ways to enhance my teaching and improve student success.


This summer, driven by my passion as both a teacher and an author who promotes inclusivity, I've been focusing on how to elevate my efforts in this area. While I've always strived to ensure that everyone in my class feels included, my current goal is to find ways to teach students about the importance of inclusion. It's not just about me making sure all students feel welcome—it's about fostering an environment where students actively ensure that their peers feel included as well.


I recognize that there's significant debate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the classroom, and the topic can be contentious. However, for me, inclusion isn't about educational initiatives or politics; it's about promoting equality and fairness. Every individual deserves to be treated with respect, and inclusion goes beyond this basic right.


Inclusion allows students to learn from diverse experiences, enriching their understanding. It teaches them that everyone brings different ideas and approaches to the table. This builds a strong classroom community where everyone values and respects each other's contributions.


Inclusivity prepares students to live in a society that values understanding and cooperation. It cultivates empathy and compassion, promotes acceptance, and helps break down stereotypes. Most importantly, inclusion is the right thing to do because it aligns with the fundamental ethical principle of treating others as we would like to be treated.


Growing up, I knew what it felt like to be isolated and excluded. Through my character, Annie the Porcupine, I’ve been able to share some of these experiences, sparking conversations with readers, teachers, and other professionals. However, I believe that beyond writing and sharing stories, it's crucial to provide students with opportunities to problem-solve and interact in ways that ensure everyone feels valued.


So, here’s to the rest of the summer of 2024—a time for me to reset and recharge. It's also an opportunity to reflect on and deepen my commitment to inclusivity.

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