The world happens around our students all the time, and they bring it into our classrooms.

We don’t teach in a bubble.

That means we have to talk about the tough subjects.

It means we listen with an open heart and an open mind.

It means we keep our bias to ourselves so as not to limit the voices of others.

It means we teach critical thinking.

It means we teach respect for differing views.

It means we acknowledge the facets of our world that are beyond our control.

It also means we talk about the ones that we can control.

To do all that, you need to build relationships with students.

They need to feel safe to express an opinion,

ask a question,

or tell a personal experience.

Most importantly,

it means you have to realize you teach students not content.

A teachable moment is going to throw off the lesson plan,

disrupt the scope and sequence, and

it probably won’t follow the curriculum guide.

But that’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations.

Don’t be afraid to hear student voices.

Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t have the answers.

Don’t be afraid of the teachable moments.