Safe. That’s the word Margaret shared this morning for Sunday DigiLit thinking.
Being safe is necessary for any classroom. It makes learning possible. We enter relationships trusting that others will hold us carefully.
But there is another side to safe. When students only do what they think is safe.
When they aren’t willing to take risks, to be themselves. When they only offer safe responses, the minimal.
When they hide in comments — I don’t know, or I agree, or worse complete silence.
When kids think they’re playing it safe, they’re in a dangerous place. They’re in danger of not believing in who they are or who they could be because they won’t take the risk of being different or wrong.
If we want students to feel safe, to be who they are, to have a chance, it’s important to highlight heroes. Those who don’t play it safe. Those who stand-up for what they believe in and don’t hide who they are even when others might think it’s wrong or strange.
It’s important to show our mistakes. To talk about when we didn’t know the answer, when we struggled.
It’s important to make being wrong or different the norm because we make mistakes when we are learning, and being different is expected.
To be safe in our classroom communities we need to be as ok with tears and outbursts and wrong answers as we are with awards and smiles and correct answers.
To be safe in our classrooms, we need to honor students who show acceptance. Every year I see the kindness in students who instinctively protect classmates. They make it safe.
As Tara mentioned in her post this morning, “It takes every single soul in a classroom to create a safe learning space for one and for all.”
Absolutely. Safe is acceptance and kindness. It’s honoring all who share our space. It’s making mistakes as we learn.