I am shocked with the opinions of some small-minded people in Canada, and our region. Having grown up in multicultural Toronto, and worked in multicultural Ottawa, I have had much experience working with kids of diverse needs and backgrounds. This fear and racism is shameful.
Teachers are professing fear, as well. There is little difference between children whose life circumstances have caused them grief, whether Canadian citizens or not.
We have integrated refugee children for many years. There is no reason a kid who cannot understand English should NOT be integrated. I think that administrators need to ask them, what do you need?
Best practices, sustainable plans, integrated services, make a difference.Teachers do not choose their students. They are assigned a group of children and must create a classroom community from these individuals from varied backgrounds and experiences every school year.
Over my 25-year career (spanning JK to gr. 8), I have sheltered children who were victims of violence, who lived in foster care and/or group homes, who fled Vietnam, children with mental, physical or emotional disabilities, children who ran into the hills to flee gunfire during The Gulf War, children whose mothers were drug addicts and were in the custody of fathers, children whose uncles were suicide bombers 'defending our people' as they said, there is no difference.
I had an opportunity to learn from children whose religion, culture and traditions were different from my own. It enriched my life.
- You take them in, welcome them, accept them and assure them that they are safe now.
- You listen.
- You fight for their right to feel safe in the classroom community, in the school and in the larger community.
- You advocate for them.
- You protect them from racism and/or bullying in your classroom community, and teach them how to handle such.
- You educate them on life in Canada; sometimes this includes their parents.
- You give them the tools to cope in their new world.
- You help them integrate into the school by appointing mentors.
- You learn about their culture and traditions to better understand them.
- You help them find their joy.
- You help them laugh and feel loved.