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My teacher keeps singling me out

I go to a small private school, and for years now, I’ve been the only Jewish girl in my grade. I’m used to being surrounded by a holiday I don’t celebrate. But no other teacher has ever made such a pointed effort to “include my perspective” during the holiday season as my current history teacher. It’s driving me nuts and getting a li’l embarrassing! What should I do?


Being the odd one out for any reason can be super uncomfortable, sweetie, but when you’re surrounded by reminders of what makes you different from the pack, dealing with your differences can be particularly challenging. We’ve got a few ways to help you solve this sitch and make this holiday season a happy one, regardless of which holiday you celebrate.


Understand where she’s coming from

Your history teacher probably has no idea that her behavior is anything less than medal-worthy. She thinks that including you (and thus your beliefs) in discussions that revolve around Christmas and other religious-based winter holidays, you’ll feel included rather than left out. Unconsciously, what she’s really done is draw a bright red-and-green target on your back and handed you a “token Jewish girl” nametag. Sensitivity to the beliefs and traditions of others should be applauded. But I’m thinking there’s probably a better way for her to be all-inclusive without singling you out.


Talk it out

Solving your problem, however, is a cinch. Quietly ask her if you two could have a chat after school. When the appointed time rolls around, simply say that you truly appreciate her effort to include you, but that because you’re the only girl who celebrates Hanukkah (or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice) in your class, her attention is isolating you instead of bringing you into the festive fold. Be as nice as you can as you suggest that she opens up her lessons to all religions and beliefs rather than just highlighting you and Hanukkah (which, you might add, really isn’t the huge celebration Christmas is for many others).


Go all-out

Another option? Throw off all embarrassment and embrace your teacher’s pointed inclusion by pulling out all the stops. Bring in sugar cookies cut into dreidel shapes. Teach your classmates the story behind Hanukkah (perhaps by a special viewing of The Rugrat’s Hanukkah special…). Gift your Secret Santa with gelt. Or, you know, sit at your desk and nod along to her questions. But we think the cookie idea is way sweeter…


Have you ever been singled out by a teacher like this, sweeties?

BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 12/8/2011 12:27:00 PM

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