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Most adults shy away from talking about issues regarding race, ethnicity, and religion. This is because they don’t know what to say, afraid to cause “a stir”, or feel as if they are alone in discussing these issues.
Students need to feel free to talk about confusing issues. They lack the maturity to process what they are seeing at home, on TV, or the internet.
Hopefully this lesson will help you become more comfortable in discussing uncomfortable issues. Even if you are not confident, “act as if!” You CAN do this!
I am rooting for you all the way. Do not be afraid to be the light in the darkness!
Talking about what is happening makes us (adults) uncomfortable. We are not used to discussing issues such as race and religion in our schools. Our classroom rules encourage everyone to “work together nicely”. If a slur occurs, we may say, “That’s not nice, say you are sorry.” However, we rarely explain why a slur isn’t nice or why it is hateful.
Due to our discomfort, we may skirt the issue. This is because we:
- Don’t know what to say
- Don’t want to get into trouble with the administration
- Feel alone in trying to teach these issues
- Don’t want conflict that might eventually involve parents
- Feel that school and religion don’t mix
- Feel that we don’t have the skills to lead such a conversation.
These are all valid fears. As counselors we must become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Remember during your training, there would often be long periods of silence during a counseling session. Remember how uncomfortable that initially felt? Over time, you learned how to use the silence as a therapeutic tool. Once that happened, you were no longer uncomfortable.
This is the same feeling.
I am working on a lesson plan to help you talk with your students about racism, bigotry, race, religion, & ethnicity. I hope it will help you in your work as a school counselor.
I am sure more issues will be coming in the future. It is my personal goal to be in the fray with you, providing you with fresh, relevant materials. Remember, we can ALL be good citizens!
After hearing the term “alternate truth” bandied about in the news, I became VERY concerned. One of the main jobs of a School Counselor is to teach children the importance of truth. Being a good citizen means telling the truth, even when it is uncomfortable.
I found a quote that stated, “Denying the truth does not change the facts.”
In my I Listen Lesson series, I have decided to focus several lessons on lying and truth. Please help me spread the word about this free program for counselors, teachers, or any adult that chooses to listen.
I’ve been cleaning out the basement in my parent’s house. The basement is a treasure trove of stuff dating back to my great grandmother. It is great fun to open boxes I wasn’t allowed near as a child!
I’ve found lots of creepy things. A doll from 1940 with half of her face covered in mold. I also found another doll that has the blinky eyes. I guess the iris was painted on, but it had flaked off. So when she opened her eyes, it was all white. Weird.
Boxes and boxes of old photos. No one really knows who the people in the photos are. Isn’t that strange. The people had full lives, and now they have faded away. All that is left of my grandparents memoribilia fits into 2 plastic tubs.
So I was being very Zen and I started thinking about my own life in relation to the stuff. One day I too will fade away. However, my life can be worth something if one person breathes easier because of me. Then I will never fade away.
To reach this lofty goal, I will need to challenge myself to make a difference. Counselors, I challenge you. Stand up. Make a difference in your school and community. Become someone who refuses to “go gently into that good night“.
Last night in President Obama’s farewell speech, he touched on the importance of empathy. Quoting from To Kill a Mockingbird, “Atticus Finch, who said, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’”
Please download my empathy poster to hang in your classroom, office, or school. Also, this week my I Listen program is focusing on empathy.
Visit my website, Counselor Created or Teachers Pay Teachers for a free lesson download and activities. Let’s all become great citizens!