The Non-Negotiables (Even While Teaching in a Global Pandemic)

Wednesday September 9, after a long day of online teaching

I am reading this statement in each of my classes. Already, a student who is NOT in my class currently wrote me an email saying that she’d heard about my “non-negotiables,” and she wanted to thank me. 

In this classroom, Black Lives Matter, no one is illegal, LGBTQIA+ students are welcome. Scholars who live with disabilities as well as those for whom English is a second+ language have the right to receive the support they need to achieve at high levels. We respect and lean on each other’s strengths and capacities, and we do not scorn the deficits or challenges our peers face. We embrace both challenge and failure as the path to learning,

At the end of the statement I added two things.

First: “I know some of these phrases can sound political or might feel a little scary for some people. If that happens for you, please reach out and let’s chat or email. I don’t want anyone to be intimidated in here. It’s totally okay to say, ‘Hey, Mrs. BG, what did you MEAN by that?’ — I promise to explain!”

Second: “I’m serious about keeping the promises that are built into those words. If you ever find my class is not an equitable or welcoming space for you or some part of your identity, call me in. Call me out. Send me an email. I want to know, and I want to fix it.”

One thought on “The Non-Negotiables (Even While Teaching in a Global Pandemic)

  1. Dear Mrs. BG
    Thank you for creating this welcoming place. Especially in these divided and distant times, you have provided a safe space for everyone!
    We hope this acceptance and encouragement is passed forward!


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