All the children of the world

Why are people’s differences such a big deal to some of us? I just don’t understand this and I’ve tried. We’re ALL DIFFERENT. I hate to have to state the obvious, but if it’s so obvious, then why do so many people miss it?

I spent some time with two intelligent young educators, Pat and Tim, the other day. They’re in our school for a college course at SUNY Fredonia, about understanding multicultural students. It sounds like a lot has been emphasized in their coursework about how our students differ from others, as Native Americans.

My thinking on this is that ethnicity doesn’t define a person; it’s just a part of who he is. Every student in the classroom is different; ethnicity is just one piece to understanding the student. And they differ in about a gazillion ways. These two guys got that, and better yet, they realized that it’s their responsibility as the teacher to know EVERY student in the classroom. From Rachel’s Challenge yesterday, “input equals output”. The more teachers put into their students, the more they care, the more they get to know them and their unique interests, the more time spent designing lessons that are of interest to them, the better. These two young guys get that it’s about teaching our students first, the subject second. Each student.

Now for anyone who thinks I just said content isn’t important–wrong! But I am saying that if you don’t connect with those students, if they don’t feel that you care about them as much or more than you care about your subject– forget about it. They aren’t going to learn your content from you anyway.

But this isn’t the only reason I’m thinking about this. I also have students who are talking to me about their own differences in regard to their sexual orientation. They talk about acceptance and tolerance and support.

I’m sorry that it matters. I’m sorry that their “differences” are such a big deal. I’m sorry that they will feel defined by this difference, instead of it just being a part of them.

Why can’t we just see the person? Why do we have to see Native or White or straight or gay or rich or poor? Why can’t we just see the person? Why is this so difficult for so many? Why must we be defined by people’s notions of us based on what they see on the surface? Why can’t we take more time to truly know the person?



  1. I think that it needs to be said, that while to an outsider, the Kimberly Moritz blog, may seem like just creative writing that the principal does for “fun”. To someone who works with Kim everyday, and works with the current students of Gowanda, this blog may be one of the most important things she does every day. She is connecting with her students in a way no other principal has been able to do here at Gowanda. Yes, blogging started for her as a personal educational pursuit. But, our students are reading her blog… ON THEIR OWN TIME!!! They are writing responses to what she has to say. They are working on writing in a way that they have never been asked to do before. And I stress again, they are doing it on their own time, with no one dangling a grade in front of them to get them to do it. You may look at this and say, gee doesn’t she have something better to do, and my response is, no, this is becoming just as important as the hundred other things that she does every day. And just like our students, she is doing it on her own time.

  2. “The more teachers put into their students, the more they care, the more they get to know them and their unique interests, the more time spent designing lessons that are of interest to them, the better. “

    That sentence really stuck out to me because it is totally true. As a student, I feel the closer I am to a teacher, the more likely I am to learn. No matter what you are trying to learn, you’re more likely to take in more from someone you can connect with. As you being principal, you try to connect with your students, that’s why I’m even writing this right now! If you were to put no time or effort into the students, I’d have no idea that this blog even existed. And about the designing lessons that are interest to them- Mrs. Furman created blogs for our JCC Computing Fundamentals class. As you know, blogs are on the internet. At this day and age, all students, well, just about all students depend on the internet for everything. It’s very exciting to do school work on a blog, you get to see other people’s opinions and questions. I actually think that is my favorite part. I love looking and seeing what other people had problems with, and even laughing at times when it’s a mistake that I’ve made in the past. By Mrs. Furman understanding that her students use the internet on a daily basis, she added the school work into a form of way that we’d rather do. I think it was an awesome idea. I even check the blog at home when I’m bored, just to see if anyone else had a question about something and maybe I could even help them. The bottom line is, I agree with what Mrs. Mortiz said, learning is just not students paying attention- its teachers paying attention also.

  3. I appreciate your feedback regarding our website. We’re working on it. It is a collaborative effort of our entire administrative team, along with Doug Pine, our technology coordinator. In regard to our scores and test data, those are easily accessible at the NYSED website. Perhaps we can add a link from our website to the scores directly.

    In regard to seeing an updated website rather than my principal’s blog–well, that’s the great thing about blogging–you don’t have to link to me or read me again–it’s your choice. And, it’s something I do for my own connection to other educators for my own professional growth, as well as hoping to influence some thinking, on my own time. As far as usefulness, well, that’s up to the individual to decide. I actually learn a lot from my readers. If you’re suggesting I devote my time to updating our website rather than attending to my blog, that’s not going to happen. It’s not my area of expertise, but we will continue to work as a team to improve it. Thank you for commenting.

  4. I am a former Gowanda grad (1991) and a High School teacher with a wife who is a principal in Erie, PA. I don’t mean to sound like the typical Gowanda complainer, BUT

    Why is the principal Blog updated daily with creative writings, but the school’s website is basically useless to a person trying to find out information about Gowanda Central Schools?

    As a graduate I’d love to keep in touch with the stats and scores/ faculty on my alma mater. I realize the usefulness of an updated principal blog (somewhat), but I think creative writings should take a back seat to the school’s website.

    I guess Gowanda is a small town which is what I love, but there are a lot of alumni who would like to see what our school is up to now rather than a creative writing blog for a principal.

    I’d love to see an updated website!

  5. I’ve always hated when a person would describe themselves as “color blind”. As if they didn’t see that the person sitting in front of them was of a certain ethnicity. It bothers me because by saying that they don’t see this ethnicity, says to me that they don’t see the person at all. It is important for us to be difference, what we need to improve is the tolerance of differences.

    I would say that this is something that we learn as we get older, but you look at what our political and religious leaders are doing and you see that just because you are older, doesn’t mean you’ve become wiser. We have religions that preach forgiveness, yet shun unwed mothers, homosexuals, mentally ill, and other religions. We have politicians blocking gay marriage, because it makes them uncomfortable. When are we going to stop trying to run the lives of everyone around us, expecting them to live like we want them to, and accept that maybe our way isn’t the only way. We need to start taking the stand of, “well, it’s not the life I would’ve chosen, but as long as you aren’t hurting anyone and what you are doing makes you happy… go for it.” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS.

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