Our first session was a bit nerve-wracking yet exciting. We were put in to 4 groups with around 10 people in each. We were handed an envelope per group and told to make a resource that a new student would be able to use. We were only allowed to use what was in the envelope. I’d done something similar to this before in school, so I had an idea of what this session could be about.
We introduced ourselves and opened the envelope. A piece of Blu-Tac, three paper clips, a Post-it note and a pencil fell out. We all looked at each other in question of what in the world we would be able to make that would be a useful resource that someone would feel is helpful. It didn’t take us long to notice that the group across from us had a piece of A4 paper as well as the pencil, Blu-Tac and paperclips. Another group had multi-coloured paper, pens and pencils. The group furthest away from us had multi-coloured paper, coloured pencils and pens and even sellotape! Our group felt like this was unfair as every other group had more things to use compared to us. It was very difficult to think of a resource, and we decided to use the envelope as part of it too. We made a very average looking map and the most important places had a paperclip on top. If I was a new student, I definitely wouldn’t have used our map.
Our group were in shock when we noticed what the others had made : a survival booklet, a box with essentials for uni inside, and another map that was definitely better than ours. Lina then rated each of our groups creations. We received a score of 3 out of 10, which made us laugh as out product wasn’t the best. Lina asked us how we felt about being rated low and not receiving the exact same stationary as everyone else. Most of us agreed and said we felt it was unfair and we were disappointed in our resource. The groups who scored high felt happy and it turns out that they didn’t even notice that they had more stationary to use compared to us.
We soon realised that this was the whole point of the session. People do not have the same things as others. People may feel disadvantaged as they don’t have a fancy house, loads of clothes or toys, or the newest iPhone. There are areas in this world where children are deprived and may not have the best upbringing compared to others. Lina described this as ‘baggage’. And that baggage does not get left at the school entrance. Some children may not even realise that not everyone can afford the same things as them.
This session made me think how important it is to treat everyone equally no matter what their background or situation is. Not every child will walk into the class and feel the same. We all have different thoughts, come from different places and live differently to each other. It is important, as a teacher, to treat everyone with equal respect and to understand that not one child is the same. Others may need a bit more help, but its vital that every individual feels the same level of respect in an educational environment.
Our job as future teachers is to make sure that each pupil feels included and is being treated equally, no matter what their background is.