Write On, Jackie!

Posted on November 19, 2016

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Jackie Koch, in her column, “Inner Space,” published on 11/17/16, in The Tecumseh Herald, writes a well-reasoned and insightful response to recent events and the hateful acts done by people who feel threatened by people who are different from them and who feel emboldened by the outcome elections. As a veteran teacher who grew up in an all-white town with a school district that couldn’t even afford to offer special education services for my sister, who had to ride a bus to a school 30 minutes away, even though we lived a 5-minute walk to all our local schools, I LOVE the diversity of Lenawee County, and I am grateful for and encouraged by Jackie’s message.

As a teacher, my first thought on the day after the election was the same as it is every day: How do I provide a safe and “caring circle of friends” for ALL my students, so that every student feels welcome in the classroom and feels safe enough to express themselves? I began each class period by stating that no matter how one feels about the election, we are all on the same team, and we need to support the learning and growth of everyone in the building. I reminded students of the anti-bullying/anti-harassment laws of MI and the rules of our school. I let students know that I will be their ally if they experience any harassment or bullying. I reminded students about the lessons I’ve taught on how to engage in civil discourse, and how to discuss sensitive issues with respect for others.

As a teacher, I am grateful for Jackie and others like her around Lenawee County who demonstrate for my students–and the rest of us lifelong learners–a kind of community engagement and leadership that fosters principled, peaceful, and compassionate attitudes and behaviors toward ourselves and others. I hope that Jackie’s column will plant thousands of seeds that blossom into acts of kindness and support, one human being to another, in Lenawee County, MI–and beyond. Thank you, Jackie, for writing. I look forward to future columns!

(I’ll be sending this to The Tecumseh Herald, to which I’ve subscribed as a result of reading Jackie’s column. Please consider joining me.)

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