“When you must, insist.  Insist that you be given the opportunity to speak.  Insist that everyone be given the same.  Insist that they listen.  Insist that every viewpoint be given credence – no matter who presents it.  Insist on the truth; insist that people be willing to dig for it.  Insist that the people around you be civil and respectful of all beings.  Insist that they stop already with the jokes that aren’t funny and the compliments that compliment no one.  Insist on a square deal.  Insist that people look at you when they talk to you.  Insist on nothing less from yourself.  When polite isn’t quite enough and demanding seems over the top, simply, firmly, clearly insist.”  ~ Rachel Snyder

I insist that you be respectful.  I insist that you treat each other with dignity.  I insist you practice patience and compassion.  I insist you be your very best self.

Each day I insist my students practice the kind of qualities that breed tolerance and understanding.  They are not allowed to be critical of others based on appearance or preference.  They must challenge each other on the merits of their individual character, and leave behind the stereotypes and predispositions that cloud their judgement and reasoning.  They must.

To be a part of my class is a privilege and an honor, but it must be earned.  You must prove to me that you deserve to share in the experience I am going to give you, and if you are not interested in following the rules of my world, you will be dismissed.  My classroom is a haven for free thinking and self-expression.  No one will be criticized for their opinions or beliefs, and everyone will respect the differences of their peers.  You will encourage each other, and when one of you falls, you will help them along the way.  You will not give up on yourself or your classmates.

The rules are simple; be your best self, and expect the best from those around you.  I won’t have it any other way.


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