So yesterday, in my AP World History class - we were discussing the Christian Schism of 1054, and the development of the Cyrillic alphabet by the missionary Cyril (mid 9th century). We discussed the spread of Orthodox Christianity throughout Eastern Europe , and how the modern Russian language still uses the Cyrillic alphabet - partially as a result of that early history.
One of my students, whose family is of Greek heritage, walked us through her experience in the Orthodox Church- and patiently answered questions. And today, one of my students who speaks Russian- brought in her children’s book that helped teach her how to read the Cyrillic Alphabet. It made for an incredible few days in class, full of meaning and personal stories. I always open my class by discussing the need to find the ties that bind, the need to learn from each other, and the need to be inclusive. This week, watching my students ask each other questions about their experience, in order to better understand it was heart warming.
And this is how we can learn. This diversity among our students is our greatest asset. So we must nurture it, and insure that every kid feels that her individuality is valued and encouraged. Not only is it something we should do, it is something that we have to do.