I believe relationships are essential in creating a safe and welcoming classroom climate. Relationships are also foundational in creating lessons that are meaningful and engaging for students. This is because establishing these relationships will help us in knowing our students and ways to support their learning. Not only do I want to build strong and meaningful relationships with my students, but I also want to build relationships with the school-wide community, such as students from other classes and my colleagues.
I believe that relationships can help in establishing a classroom climate that reflects social justice because showing our students that we are interested in getting to know them allows them to be vulnerable and open about who they are. However, relationships should be reciprocal and I should be open to sharing more about myself, as well. I believe that by establishing these reciprocal relationships and allowing students to be vulnerable helps with developing open-mindedness. Through this open-mindedness, we can work together to create a space that reflects and celebrates all of our differences and is inclusive to all, regardless of gender, abilities, race, cultural background, socioeconomic status, or family style.
In terms of ecological justice, I believe that it is not only important to teach my students about the environment, but to teach them through the environment. In other words, it is important to demonstrate to the students that learning can take place beyond the classroom space. This may include taking them outside for a nature walk or simply meditating outside to practice mindfulness. Another way the students can learn from nature is by bringing the outside in. This may include having plants around the classroom or by using natural materials as an invitation to learning or as a teaching tool.