“Do I belong here?”

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.”

– Haim Ginott

As we’re welcoming kiddos into our spaces, let’s take a moment to look through their new “home” with a fresh set of eyes. What messages are we sending to the children that look up to us with our classroom displays, readalouds, book collection, clipart, and signage? Whose families, voices, bodies, cultures, etc. are represented? Will every little heart walk in and know right away that they belong? And will we mirror that work in our language, curriculum, behavior management, and beyond?

It’s a lot to consider, and nobody’s perfect. I like to start with books. Are my books reflecting what I want my readers to know about my space? Will every reader think, “I belong here”?

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