TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians – 2016

The International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC) was a proud sponsor of the 10th edition of TD Bank’s “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians” award ceremony. The awards were presented by His Excellency Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

ILAC’s Co-President, Ilan Cohen, introduced the ceremony sponsors and showed ILAC’s support to the Hispanic community in Canada.

Ilan Cohen, ILAC’s Co-President at the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians Award Ceremony

Ten outstanding community members from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Ecuador, and El Salvador, took home an award that represents the continuous hard work and dedication put into their respective careers, ranging from being the President of the International Society of Electrocardiology to the first and only Hispanic member of the Ontario Court of Justice.

TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians – 2016:

  • Dr. Adrian Baranchuk – Argentina: President of the International Society of Electrocardiology (2015)
  • Dr. Alicia Viloria-Petit – Venezuela: Cancer researcher and professor, University of Guelph
  • Ana Dominguez – Colombia: President of Campbell Company of Canada
  • Dr. Andres Lozano – Spain: World authority in deep brain stimulation, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Antonio Caycedo – Colombia: Colorectal surgery innovator, HSN Scientist
  • Eva Martinez – Spain: Vice President, Women in Aerospace Canada
  • Fr. Hernan Astudillo – Ecuador: Priest, musician and humanist, San Lorenzo Community Centre
  • Hon. Joseph Bovard – El Salvador: First and only Hispanic member of the Ontario Court of Justice
  • Dr. Guillermo Rocha – Mexico: President, Canadian Ophthalmological Society
  • Dr. Julio Montaner – Argentina: Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

His excellency raised awareness of the challenges immigrants face while integrating to a new community, and the OAS’s goal to provide equal rights to all citizens. “We cannot sit quietly and accept that opportunities to move ahead are denied to those who come from a poor family or are born outside the city, or face discrimination due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation. On the contrary, we must fight and ensure that all citizens have equal rights.

Jimmy Battaglia, ILAC’s Marketing Director, and His Excellency Luis Almagro Lemes, Secretary General of the OAS

The event was a great networking opportunity for Hispanics in Canada, learning about different initiatives and organizations for the improvement of the community.

To learn more about TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians, visit hispanicbusiness.ca

The post TD Bank’s 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians – 2016 appeared first on ILAC.

from Blog – ILAC http://www.ilac.com/most-influential-hispanic-canadians-2016/

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How to Keep Kids Safe

(and prevent problems online)

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Welcome to episode 296 of the Every Classroom Matters podcast. In this episode, Shannon Mclintock-Miller and I discuss current best practices about digital citizenship and online safety for kids.

If you’ve ever taught kids who have their own smartphones, you know how quickly social media problems can escalate at school. Understandably, schools that don’t open lines of honest communication with students and parents are the most at risk from turmoil from the online behavior of students. In today’s podcast, Shannon and I talk about what schools can do to prevent problems and make them less severe when they happen.

Listen to the Audio

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The essential skill every child needs so they can be safe.
  • Why every school should include digital citizenship in their curriculum.
  • How to start conversations about digital citizenship with colleagues who are resistant to including it in the curriculum.
  • The specific dangers of oversharing and how Shannon kept it from derailing her school’s 1:1 initiative.

Download the Listening Guide

Today’s show has the Episode 296 Listening Guideto help you take notes and to implement what you learn in your classroom. I’ve also included some of my favorite free digital citizenship education options.

Episode 296 Listening Guide

Check Out Today’s Sponsor

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Learn more about Bloomz

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4174&catid=91&Itemid=1181

About Us

Today’s Guest: Shannon Mclintock-Miller

Shannon Mclintock-Miller @shannonmmiller is a mom of three wonderful children, a teacher-librarian and a technology integration specialist. She is an educational consultant for Mackin Educational Resources and Cantata Learning, and Executive Director of Library & Educational Services for Biblionasium. She is also the Skype Education Ambassador. In 2014, Shannon was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker.

Host: Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is a full-time classroom teacher in Camilla, Georgia. Winner of the ISTE Online Learning Award 2006  and Best Talk Show Host in Education 2014 and many Best Teacher Blog awards, Vicki seeks to shine a spotlight on what works in education wherever it happens in the world. Read more about her here.

Subscribe to the Podcast

If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe:

iTunes     RSS

Tell Your Friends

If you enjoyed the show, please rate this show on iTunes and leave a review. Thank you for helping other teachers find the show.

The post How to Keep Kids Safe appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


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4 Ways to Teach With Play

(and captivate your bored students)

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Welcome to episode 295 of the Every Classroom Matters podcast. In this episode, Leanna Prater and I discuss how to use play in the classroom to teach. I’m also unveiling a new listening guide for you to use with this show.

If you’ve taught for very long, you’ve struggled with the “bored student.” These students might have ADHD or just aren’t engaged through typical classroom experiences. Today’s podcast will give you practical advice for teaching with play.  With tips for using play with science, math, writing, and even teacher professional development, play can be part of teaching throughout schools.

Listen to the Audio

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Four powerful ways to teach your students with play.
  • Several examples of technology and hands-on tools to create a playful learning environment.
  • History, writing, math, and teacher professional development examples.
  • The research behind why play can be such a powerful tool for teaching.

Download the Listening Guide

Today’s show has a listening guide to help you take notes and to guide you to implement what you learn today in your classroom.

Episode 295 – Listening Guide

Check Out Today’s Sponsor

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Learn more about Bloomz

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4175&catid=91&Itemid=1181

About Us

Today’s Guest: Leanna Prater

Leanna Prater, M.A. Ed., is a District Technology Resource Teacher for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, KY where she conducts professional development and provides supports to educators in instructional technology. She is also a doctoral candidate in Instructional Systems Design in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Kentucky, College of Education.

Host: Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is a full-time classroom teacher in Camilla, Georgia. Winner of the ISTE Online Learning Award 2006  and Best Talk Show Host in Education 2014 and many Best Teacher Blog awards, Vicki seeks to shine a spotlight on what works in education wherever it happens in the world. Vicki has created more than 30 global collaborative projects, programmed apps with her students, and is now shooting a full-length movie with her digital film class. Read more about her here.

Subscribe to the Podcast

If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe:

iTunes     RSS

Tell Your Friends

If you enjoyed the show, please rate this show on iTunes and leave a review. Thank you for helping other teachers find the show.

The post 4 Ways to Teach With Play appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


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The One Present I Wish Parents Would Give My Students

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

The gifts that change your life are the ones you didn’t know you wanted in the first place. I can tell the kids who get this kind of gift. They are different. Let me tell you how.

the one gift

This post is written as part of Cathy Rubin’s Global Search for Education. The question is “what one gift do you wish parents would give your students this year?” By definition, this is supposed to be a physical gift, because of course love and support and good character are all things we hope parents will give their kids every year. 

Four perfect examples of students who have gotten this type of gift were in my classroom today. It should be noted that today is a holiday. We are not officially “in school” right now. But these four students chose to go to school today. BY CHOICE!

These four students are part of my digital filmmaking class. Right now, they are finishing the screenplay to shoot in January. While their friends are shopping or sleeping, these Indy filmmakers are fixing the script. They are collaborating in Google Docs with their partners out of town. Meanwhile, they sent me messages in Dropbox about what I need to do while I’m stuck on the couch with the flu.

How Four Parents Helped Their Kids with Gifts

I believe that you can trace their engagement back to those “one presents” they got. Over the years, their parents have given them gifts to spark creativity. Since I’ve known these kids a while, let’s talk about what they’ve received as gifts over the past few years.

The first student has been interested in graphic design since eighth grade. Two years a go, her parents bought her a graphic tablet. One year, she received Adobe Illustrator. She’s not only designed an incredible cover for our annual, but now, she is the creative director for our movie.

The second student loves to dance. Over the years, her parents have given her toe shoes and dance gear. Sometimes she would get books about great choreographers. Other times, she would receive a ticket to see dancers in the major cities. So, by now, as a senior, she danced the part of Clara in the Nutcracker. However, with her ability for organizing things, she’s our Production Manager.

The third student loves editing film. For his birthday, his parents helped him upgrade to an iPhone 7 because of the camera quality. He has tripods and other equipment to feed the flame of filmmaking. It is no surprise that now he is our film editor.

The fourth student in my room today has loved acting since she was a little girl. Her parents would spend hours helping her find just the right script for her monologs (it is no wonder, she’s won state twice). She’s gotten books. They’ve sent her to classes. Last Christmas, her family gave her money towards a trip to New York to receive acting lessons. Understandably, she’s the lead actress.

These aren’t the only four, but they are perfect examples of kids who have received that “one” kind of present. Gifts that help nurture the natural gifts of students not only excited students but brighten their future.

So, the one gift I ask you to give my students is one related to their passion. But not just related, something that requires them to create with it

Examples of Gifts that Nurture a Student’s Passion

So, you ask, what are some examples?

  • If they love makeup, give them a book about how makeup artists create distinctive looks and give them special brushes. Give them special effects gear.
  • Minecraft fans could use a book about modding and point them to a place to set up their server. There are online classes about modding as well.
  • For those who love digital filmmaking, consider some lenses for their phone and books about filmmaking. These kids might already have a YouTube channel and if they do, watch a few videos and give them things related to their channel’s topic.
  • Artists can use graphic tablets, software, or apps. In addition to instructional books, they could take online classes or look at picture books.
  • Sportsmen might like a book on the strategy of the sport or tickets to a game or help going to a summer camp of their choice.
  • Hands-on makers might like robots, a subscription to Make Magazine, or something to build.
  • Budding scientists might like chemistry sets, telescopes, or other cool kits.

Know the Child to Pick the Gift

But to give that “one gift” you need to know the child. Look at what they love and help them create and investigate. Give them a gift that stokes the flame of curiosity and sparks their imagination. When you give gifts that spur kids on from consumer to a creator, they’ll become more curious.

Curious kids never get bored. So this year, while gift cards might be the easy way out, consider doing research and encouraging kids to create and innovate.

And those “one gifts” add up. Be the one to spark a child’s curiosity.

The post The One Present I Wish Parents Would Give My Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


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Write Shorter, Simpler Standards

How Words often Kill the Best Intentions

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

We have too many standards. Many of you will agree, they are too long. In fact, some teachers I know spend more time aligning standards than creating lesson plans. With this in mind, we must ask, are these well-intentioned standards keeping us from focusing on the main thing? Along these lines, a recent conversation on my podcast with Dr. Douglas Reeves has me thinking. Doug says,

We have too many standards. The idea that we can wave our magic wand and assess them all is ridiculous. I’m an advocate of power standards… we should prioritize and assess the half dozen or so that are the most important to get students to the next level.

Have you ever wondered why educators love Twitter so much? Maybe it is because it puts everyone on a word diet of 140 characters. What if standards could only be 140 characters long? As I’ve said when Common Core began,

Most straight jackets worn in education are fabrications of the mind.

Simple Greatness

Grace Adkins, our learning lab director, has been teaching since the 1940’s. By now, she’s almost 90 and is an amazing woman who has helped so many children in her life. In her revered career, many kids everyone was giving up on have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, accountants, and even teachers. Gratefully, I’m one of those kids. You see, Mrs. Adkins was my second-grade teacher. Now, she’s one of my mentors. Her favorite saying is,

Aim high, but keep it simple.

If I had a wish for standards, it would be that we’d listen to Mrs. Adkins.

Some of the standards I use to build my courses are so complex that I have to get a highlighter out to break them down. I’m sorry, but if a standard has so many compound sentences and commas and semicolons that I have to GET OUT MY HIGHLIGHTER — how on earth is a child going to understand it?

And yes, our kids need to know what we’re teaching them. If you don’t believe me, then take it from Einstein, one of the most brilliant people in history, who said,

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

Simplify. Save time. Save money. Get more done.

Big Words Can Hide Foolish Ideas

I’ve found that some absurd ideas hide behind big words. Admittedly, some people think you’re smarter if you use bigger words. However, I think they are wrong. Ernest Hemingway said,

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

Oscar Wilde said,

Sometimes I’m so clever, I don’t understand a word of what I’m saying.

Let me give you an example from my youth at risk, perhaps of someone finding out. Many years ago, I had an awesome boyfriend in high school. My family would agree it was certainly a great relationship for a season of time. He was handsome and athletic, but he had one drawback — he didn’t have a big vocabulary. All I had to do to win an argument was to use a big word or two that he didn’t know. And the thing is — I knew very well that these were sometimes arguments that I didn’t deserve to win. But in the heat of the moment, I wanted to win them. So, there you go. I’m not proud of it, but I did it.

This “person who uses the biggest word wins” trick makes me furious. Therefore, I arm my students with the knowledge that there is no word too hard that they can’t look it up and figure out what it means. For if they give up at the sound of a big word, they could easily let a silly idea win.

If you have a choice between a simple word or a complex one that will do the same job, use simple ones.

Being smart doesn’t mean you’re always right.

Sadly, there were some smart people performing experiments in Nazi concentration camps. And the moment we run from an argument because a big word is used, we risk doing harm to good ideas.

Education doesn’t mean that we have to make the process of education so hard. Sometimes I think we also forget that we all have the capacity to make a mistake. And while PhD students might understand some complex explanation of a simple method, if average everyday teachers can’t — it won’t be used.

Henry David Thoreau said,

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I would argue that standards cost money. The longer and more complex standards are, the more it takes to try to implement them. I would also argue that the longer they are, the more likely they are to be ignored.

In fact, sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. 

How about?

  • Spend more time on lesson plans.
  • Slash paperwork.
  • Limit standards.
  • Focus on students.
  • Build relationships.
  • Smile.
  • Enjoy your job.
  • Enjoy your colleagues.
  • Educate.
  • Respect people.

I’d rather do a little good with small words than fail greatly because I used big ones.

A Challenge for Education

Here’s your challenge. Let’s go on a word diet.  Let’s make statements short, simple, and excellent. We can do this with:

  • Mission statements
  • Visions
  • School Improvement Plans
  • Goals
  • Standards
  • Essential Questions

Let’s be simple and clear.

Perhaps our biggest obstacle to improving education isn’t money. Perhaps it is a system that uses 10 words when 1 will do. And amidst all those words, we’ve lost our way and forgotten why we’re here.

Learners.

The post Write Shorter, Simpler Standards appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/write-shorter-simpler-standards/

4 Ways to Cultivate Motivation in Your Students

How to Become a Master at Student Motivation

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Student self-motivation is, perhaps, the Holy Grail of teaching.  In fact, the hardest days of teaching are when your students don’t care. In those circumstances, we start to wonder if we should care either. For example, have you heard some teachers complaining when student motivation is missing:

student self motivation

“My students never study.”

“My students just don’t care.”

“They don’t want to be here.”

Sadly, I’ve said these things before too. When you hear these -Over the long term, you can't motivate someone else. You can help a person tap into their own energy so they can motivate themselves.- Larry Ferlazzowords, if your students act like they don’t care — THEY DON’T!!! Take these words as alarm bells to act.

Get Bloomz

When apathy happens, it is incredibly important that YOU care whether they care.

Unleashing student motivation is far simpler and far more expensive than you might think. Simple, because you have to care. Expensive, because it costs you your heart.

Along these lines, Larry Ferlazzo shares four simple keys to unleashing self-motivation.  I won’t give up hope and you don’t need to either. But I promise you, after 15 years of teaching, we all reach a point where we realize we must change direction and connect with the learners just a little better.

Teachers need to lead with their ears instead of their mouths.

When you’re lagging or flagging, this show is one you’ll want to listen to so that you may get back up and care so you can help your students care, too. Unleash student motivation. You can do it!

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Today’s Sponsor: Bloomz

Bloomz is your one-stop solution for parent-teacher communications. More than just connecting with their cell phones, you can send long or short messages. You can share pictures and links. You can even coordinate volunteer schedules, donations, and parent-teacher conferences. I’m using Bloomz in my classroom.

Show Notes:

  • There are 4 key elements that help unleash student self-motivation:
    • Autonomy: A voice in what and how being down.
    • Relationship: What they are doing helps build a relationship with someone they like or respect
    • Relevant: Something they do is connecting to their hopes and dreams.
    • Competence: They are capable of doing what they’re being asked to do.
  • We talk about intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.
  • What is cognitive choice and how we can we give it to our students? Larry gives examples with cognitive choice as it relates to homework and classroom learning. Larry also relates cognitive choice to metacognition.
  • Kristy Cooper’s research Eliciting Engagement in the High School Classroom: A Mixed-Methods Examination of Teaching Practices from April 2014 American Education Research Journal.
  • What can teachers do to have a great relationship with students?
  • Larry also shares the best way to give advice.
  • Feedback in Schools by John Hattie
  • Larry Ferlazzo relates Professor Carol Dweck’s research about how we give feedback in the classroom. Larry loves creating situations where they create their own feedback.
  • Larry explains the “plussing strategy” which came from Pixar about how you comment on people’s work.
  • How do we make our topic relevant without demotivating kids who struggle?
  • Larry’s book: Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers to Classroom Challenges

http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&layout=embed&tmpl=component&id=4165&catid=91&Itemid=1181

Who is Larry Ferlazzo?

Larry Ferlazzo began teaching in 2003 after working as a community organizer for nearly twenty years. An award-winning English and Social Studies teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., Larry is the author of Helping Students Motivate Themselves: Practical Answers To Classroom Challenges.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. If this show meant something to you, will you leave a review?button-itunes

The post 4 Ways to Cultivate Motivation in Your Students appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


from Cool Cat Teacher BlogCool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/4-ways-cultivate-motivation-students/

Treat People with Dignity and Respect

Who Will Be the People to Bridge Racial and Cultural Distrust?

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

"I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of a university." Albert Einstein

Someone thought Dad was a poor dirt farmer. Here’s how they tell the story. You see, my father is a farmer in South Georgia. In the past, he’s been involved in various political campaigns in both political parties. One time it was during harvest and Daddy came to hear a candidate speak at the courthouse straight out of the field. Dad hadn’t listened to the candidate before, and neither had many people from our area. As the candidate was introduced, Daddy walked up near the back of the crowd. Daddy was “filthy dirty” as we say in south Georgia. It is likely, knowing Dad, that his shirt was untucked. Probably the only nongrimy part of his body was the whites of his eyes.

Dad, the “Dirt Farmer” Meets the Politician

As the story goes, as Dad walked up, the candidate leaned over to one of the local members of his election campaign and said,

“I’m so glad the poor dirt farmers could make it today. That speaks well for our campaign.”

Of course, everyone knew the man was talking about my Dad. Mouths were open, and uncomfortable looks were exchanged between those who brought him to the courthouse for his “stump speech.”

After the speech, Daddy came up to shake his hand. The man assumed a condescending air that everyone saw as Dad walked up. Daddy shook his hand and then said something like,

“I mentioned your name to Senator [name withheld] when I was on the Hill last week. This year’s farm bill is looking good and I hope if you get elected that you’ll continue to support our efforts to help farmers in Washington.”

Dad added a few more comments that showed he knew some people in Washington, DC and had spent some time there. The onlookers said you should have seen the look on the candidate’s face. In shock, his face changed looks from one of condescension to one of realizing that he had misjudged this “poor dirt farmer” who came late to the courthouse. He was completely floored because his assumptions were wrong. Needless to say, this potential candidate’s gaffe was spread throughout the candidate, and he did not carry our county nor the election.

I know this story well because it was the one they told me often as a child reminding me to treat all people with dignity and respect.

“Whether you’re talking to the janitor or the President, each person deserves your respect,” Mom would say.

When I Was an Intern in Washington, DC

Years later when I served as an intern in Washington, DC for Senator Sam Nunn, I remembered these words from Mom and Dad. I would often see people ignore interns like me as the nobodies that we were. But interestingly enough, often there were people in power — like Senator Nunn — who recognized people “like me” and treated us with great respect.

My encouragement to you today is to remember that every individual is worthy of respect. And be careful of wearing filters on your eyes and only seeing people “like you.”

A Curious Thing That Happened Waiting for the Bathroom at Five Guys

This past Sunday, we went to the new Five Guys burger place in Albany, Georgia after church. But before I tell you my “Five Guys” story, let me tell you a little background so you can relate.

Now, Kip and I go to one of the most diverse churches in South Georgia. At our church, we believe that racial reconciliation begins in the church with showing how we love others. Unfortunately, in the US, according to our speaker this past Sunday, Vance Pittman, 86% of churches are segmented by race or social class each Sunday. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be that way. The church that speaks love should be the first to embrace and show the love of all people.

In fact, recently at church, I was talking to a precious teenager who I’ve mentored about her college choices. She’s a beautiful African-American teen. As a matter of fact, we got to know each other serving together in nursery duty over the years. At the church social several months a go, I sat beside her as she fished and we talked about college choices. She stopped me in the hall several weeks ago the Sunday after the election when everyone was so afraid and said,

“Miss Vicki, I tell my friends that there are good white people out there. I tell them about our church and they don’t believe me. I told them I have friends of all types at church and we love each other and worship together and they say it isn’t true. All I know is what I see and I see good people with all skin types and colors. I wish more of them would believe me. I wish more of my friends would give people with different colors a chance.”

I told her to keep living her life with love and not hate. I told her that I totally understand and that I have people in my life too that “don’t give people with different colors a chance” but that we have to be different and love all types of people and that I believe it is our God-given mission to love all people.

Now, that you understand that I’d just come from a very diverse church where everybody says hello to everybody — let’s go back to Five Guys. So, I’m a “How are you” kinda person. I love to say hello to everybody and smile. I might be the only smile a person sees that day. So, we’re in 5 Guys after church and I’m saying hello to everyone.

Then, as I’m waiting outside the ladies’ restroom, I see a friendly man coming down the hallway towards the hall where I’m waiting. He has to go past me to wait for the men’s room to become available. He’s a “hello how are you” person too!

He speaks to the lady from Five Guys who walks in the hallway out of the serving kitchen.

“How are you sister, I’m so happy to see you. You have a great day.”

Then, a young man comes down the hall and walks just past me and says,

“How are you, young man. Are you doing OK today? You do well in school and have a good day, my brother.”

I turn to him and say,

“Hello, how are you today? I hope you’re having a good day.”

You could have stopped time. He looked at me with a blank face and didn’t say a word. I was shocked. I started wondering if I had something on my face or if I was just a scary looking person.  I started looking at my skirt and shoes and wondered what was wrong with me.

Then, a lady came out of the restroom where I was going in and he said to her,

“Hi, sister, how are you? It’s a mighty fine Sunday, dontcha think?”

Just as friendly as he could be. No word to me. I just went into the lady’s restroom and didn’t see him again. I had no clue what was going on until I realized something. All the people he spoke to were African American, and he was too. I’m white.

Is that what it was? Did I not exist because I was a different color?

Now, I’m not pointing this out to say I was treated wrongly. This happening just caused me to wonder and be curious. Having just come from church, we say hello to everybody and everybody is pretty different from us. We’re all different. Different classes. Different races. Different countries, even.

But now, thrown back into the “real world” we were back into the place of being different again. And I wasn’t even worth a “hi, how you.” Let’s say I did have something on my face or was having a particularly bad hair day, I would still think as a fellow human being that I’d be worth a hello. I think the friendly man might have liked me a little if he’d said hello. We were both “Hi how are you” kinda people.

For now, I’ll just shake it off and give him the benefit of the doubt. Who knows why I wasn’t worth a hello.  It isn’t for me to guess and I think life is better giving people the benefit of the doubt. He could have had horrible wrongs done to him or his family by people who are white and he sees me as just another “one of them.” Who knows. In the grand scheme of life, someone not saying hello is really not a big deal.

Like the young lady at church, I just found it odd. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t upset. I guess I was just sad.

You see, often we’re all blind – me included. We’re blind to our own biases. We’re blind to the situation of other people and how they see the world. But we must simply begin not only seeing the world through the eyes of our neighbor, but we must begin loving and treating all people with respect. We can’t rush to judgment. We can’t ignore people who are a different color or who are a different social class. Or even, who are a different physical fitness level. (I can make a whole blog post on how differently “thin Vicki” gets treated from “fat Vicki” — it is stunning to become invisible to some people when you put on a few pounds.)

In the end, we’re all people. Fat. Thin. Rich. Poor. Black. White. Hispanic. Asian. We’re all just people.

I just encourage you today as I encourage myself — 

  • Don’t assume that you are treating everyone with respect.
  • Intentionally today say hello to people you don’t usually greet.
  • Intentionally consider how  YOU treat others.
  • Notice the quiet and those left out.
  • Notice people who aren’t being greeted by others and be the one to say hello.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt when you seem to be having a disagreement. We all have a bad day.

For the small things do become big things in a culture. I’ve given you several examples here of how we must learn to reach out to those different from us and “be the change we wish to see in the world” as Nelson Mandela says.  If “the type” of person who doesn’t usually say hello to you says hello, say hello back.

And let me tell you something, this is not a popular view. People talk about racial and cultural reconciliation, but the peer pressure is to make fun of “the other guy” or to stay away from “the other gal.” Our world is geared to be divisive.

As teachers and as leaders, we simply must be different. We must love all people and show with our actions how the world should improve.

As for me, I’m a hugely flawed individual. Even with this blog post, I’m sure I’ve included biases and things that I said unintentionally. I’ve even debated not posting this because it is such an inflammatory topic.

But I’ll tell you, the unkindness, stereotyping, and lack of civility brewing in our world is going to give us an explosive hothouse of violence if more of us can’t stand up and show with word and deed that all people deserve our respect, attention, time, and best.

May we all reflect upon our actions today and become better people for it.

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The post Treat People with Dignity and Respect appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!


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