Knowing that many of us teach students who have varying beliefs, diverse backgrounds, and unique opinions: encouraging all students to embrace campus-wide policies like wearing a mask can be a challenge.
Instead of politicizing the issue, I took my limited graphic design skills to Adobe Spark. As a funny/silly way of encouraging students to have positive attitudes about wearing their mask in the classroom and around campus, I created graphics like the one above using an image of a golden eagle (our campus mascot) wearing a mask!
It feels strange at times to suspend our own attitudes or opinions in order to create space for each student. I feel as though a lot of us are navigating this terrain: how do we make space for every student to grow and learn without exposing marginalized students to additional harm or violence? I believe there is a way to do this. My personal solution would promote the ideas of building a classroom community from day 1, providing opportunities for student agency so they feel invested in the course, and outlining clear classroom policies with plans to engage in conversation if an incident occurs.
Happy masking up to all!
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Emily M. Goldsmith (she/they) is a queer Cajun poet originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Mississippi.