There are few teachers who can play the role of mentor in one’s life. Also, there are few people who can actually influence one and leave a mark in the lives of their students. Hugh Guill is perhaps one of them who has always tried to change the outlook of education and many people’s take on it. All his life he has kept himself attached to education and how it empowers individuals. To him, education is not only about learning from the book. It is an all round development of the student he believes that is the goal of effective education. Hugh is a pass out from Kenyon College, and has always kept education and economic empowerment before everything else. He began his teaching career as a Middle School Science Teacher at the Denver Public Schools and went on to become a Corps Member Advisor for Teach For America in 2008. His career with YES Prep Public Schools has lasted long in his professional career as a mentor. His dedication and hard work paved the way for him to head the office of a Principal and remaining in office till 2014. Hugh currently works as an Analyst at Select Energy Services.
In the shoes of a mentor and educator, Hugh Guill have had the opportunity to mix and come in touch with a diverse population. He has the opportunity to work with students from all walks of life, a diverse population that required a teacher to pay for attention to the issues of diversity and tolerance. However, it is Hugh himself who points out that there are teachers who are unable to address multiculturalism and acceptance. He feels that this is a failing point for any teacher or mentor as a teacher can never ever choose the subjects on the basis of class, creed, religion or color. That is why Hugh Guill makes it a point to draft some useful tips for teachers and help them deal with diversity in the classroom.
- Turn The Classroom into a Safe Haven- The first task that teachers or mentors needs to do is to turn the classroom into a safe place. After home, children spent quality time at school with friends and teachers and hence it is necessary that they stay in a safe environment. According to Hugh, teachers can begin with making some ground rules against exclusion, teasing or bullying which in any form is not only unacceptable and harmful but disrespectful too.
- Get acquainted with each other- Until this happens, the classroom will be a melting pot for diversity. It is the responsibility of the teachers to know their students as individuals and learn more about the behavior, follies and good habits. Students too should also know each other. It is important to highlight that uniqueness in the classroom is a gift and it adds lots of value to classroom dynamics.
- Ask your students to be more free with each other- This is a big job for the teacher as without this openness it is hard to interact and answer their queries about differences. Make sure that students are open about the concept of differences. The teacher should be patient in answering the questions deriving examples from original life and then provide the answer.
- Organizing a field trip- It is important for students to expand their knowledge and learning. That is why field trips are important in broadening the knowledge of the world. Also, it helps the student to improve historical empathy and judge a person or an idea through the eyes of another person. Arranging for classroom activities on religious and cultural holidays often is a great way to help students open up to other traditions and culture according to Hugh Guill.
Discrimination in the classroom is something that every teacher should stand up against and deal with a strict hand. According to Hugh Guill, it is the duty of the teacher to help their students grow up into responsible adults and not only be tolerant to differences but also embraces them.