What is a neutral curriculum and can teachers truly leave their beliefs at the door of their classrooms upon entering? To tell the truth, this is a question I have pondered on myself for years. My answer to this question is and always has been, NO! A neutral curriculum, in my opinion, is one that lacks any thought on morals, character education, or a teacher's religious beliefs. I have yet to meet a teacher who does not, on a daily basis, interject some kind of personal beliefs about classroom acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior, taking responsibility for ones on actions, and being respectful to yourself, your classmates, and your teachers. Our personal beliefs may be different than our colleagues, but whatever influences our lives, truly comes out in how we conduct and manage our classrooms, if nothing else.
I teach kindergarten. I constantly teach children that sharing is the right thing to do, that stealing is wrong, and that treating your classmates with respect are the most important things to learn at this young age. I love the poem by Robert Fulghum, "All I Ever Need to Learn I Learned in Kindergarten." This poem, written from a graduates point of view, explains that all of the things that make up good moral character are learned while in Kindergarten. Am I influenced by my Christian upbringing while choosing what values to instill in my students, absolutely. I was raised that all people are equal in God's eyes regardless of race, gender, or nationality. Other religions do not teach this concept, in fact some do not believe in the One,True God at all. I give all of my students the same love and respect. My character shows through my interactions with them everyday, and since my character is shaped by my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, I can not imagine the possibility of a neutral curriculum.
Being a public school teacher, it is harder to tow that fine line between what is legal and what is not. I have been told by a...
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