It’s hard to be a kid. It’s especially hard to be a kid who’s “different.” One of my main goals as the school counselor in Love Hall is to help every single child feel like he or she belongs. I hope all kids feel that they belong at Westminster, they belong in their classroom, and they belong to various friendship groups. As adults, most of us still feel nervous approaching a group of new colleagues or parents and joining a conversation. We display confidence that might or might not be felt inside 100%. When we feel like outsiders, it can be tough. We don’t need to belong everywhere, but it is important for kids to feel like they are important to the life of a school.
In Second Grade classes during this six-day rotation, we are reading a wonderful book called Michael by Tony Bradman. Michael is different — and a bit of a troublemaker. As a group, we discuss how Michael and his classmates might be feeling throughout the story. Would we befriend Michael if he were in our class? What might be hard about being his friend? What might be wonderful? Students also share experiences of feeling different, respectfully listening to and learning from each other. I share that I do not agree with all of the words the author chose and the drawings the illustrator created. I encourage our young readers to study books critically, imagining what they would do differently if they rewrote the stories and what they would ask authors if they had the chance.