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In preparing for a brand new school year, I find it helps me to have a theme for the year. This guiding principle helps to give me focus essentially serving as a point of reference when things get busy and I am juggling additional responsibilities. In other words, this theme serves as a reminder of my own goal(s) for the year.
This year, I find myself with two long standing major themes: preparing students for the challenges of our interconnected world and helping students understand, accept, and welcome difference. In a number of ways, these goals are connected; yet, the latter is one that is extremely important to me because it does not matter what makes us different. I believe that even identical twins have something that sets them apart from each another (makes them unique from one another). Whatever the “something” in every person, I believe it is important to understand the beauty that can be found in one’s unique difference.
As I was thinking about this theme, I ran across a five minute TED Talk from Faith Jegede. Faith’s talk not only reinforced my desire to continue the work of educating children about difference but she helped me add another dimension to my thinking about this topic when she questions the notion of normalcy in relation to difference. What exactly does it mean to be normal? I am not 100% sure if I can answer the question; however, I truly like Faith’s ideas about normalcy and its connection to “difference”, “individuality”, and “communication”. I hope you do, too! tlb