Judgment can be extremely powerful. Judgments can create or destroy relationships, build people up, or tear them down. As human beings, both my future students and I live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the negative effects of judgment. My students, in fact, will experience judgment on a regular basis. During my schooling, I had my beliefs questioned on a regular basis because I was Mormon. I felt the judgment of my peers, even as far as being told that I could no longer hang out with one of my best friends as soon as her parents found out I was Mormon. In high school, one of my teachers questioned multiple parts of my beliefs in a lesson on Mormonism. I sat bewildered. As a sixteen year old kid, I was far from a theologian. I only knew what I believed and hoped that I would not mess up too terribly. I felt the eyes of my classmates boring into my head as I shakily answered questions about temple worship, Joseph Smith, and others. As I met this judgment, I chose to use it as an opportunity to teach acceptance. I was able to explain that Mormonism, although different from other religions in some specific practices, fundamentally teaches good values regarding family, love, and daily worship. I saw the judging eyes of some of my classmates fade away as I explained that we all are fundamentally connected. Through this experience, I learned both the negative effects of judgment, but also human beings immense ability to accept.
Experiencing this struggle, I realized the importance, as a future educator, to rid my mind of judgment. I will have students who are minorities or those who have had hate planted in their hearts for people they do not understand. I need my classroom to be a place that my students view as a safe haven away from the worries and the strife of the world. Through this, I will not only teach the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic), but I will also teach love, acceptance, and the value of an open heart. Through creating an environment of safety, the walls of judgment can and will fall.