Blog #6- Religion in School

November 17, 2013

As a teacher, I feel that I might encounter some religious practices and celebrations within my classroom. I think that these occurrences may be amplified during times of crisis such as the aftermath of a school shooting or natural disaster. I feel as though some religious holidays may impact my classroom, as well as religious attire.

One thing that I think will happen in my classroom is prayer time for students. I’m not sure right now where I will be teaching in the future but perhaps if I teach in a region where Islam is practiced, I could have students that are required to pray at specific times during the day. I would respond to this by allowing that particular student, or group of students, to leave class during that time. Perhaps if I were in such a community, there would be a large enough population where a student could leave during this time period and go to a room within the school. Also, some students may practice Christianity and may be expected to pray before lunch. I would allow that student to pray and return to their business. I’m not aware of any other religion that requires specific times for praying during the day but I would excuse any student during a period if they need to pray. If it became a problem where the student was excused for a period of time and they were not praying but rather disturbing the class or other classes, I would contact the parent to make them aware of the behavior problem.

If a student needed to miss a day of school for a religious holiday, I would allow them to make up their work just as if they missed for illness. I would not excuse them from the work that they missed during this time, as everyone would be required to complete the same amount of work. This could potentially be a problem if, for example, parents felt that the schools should be closed on the holiday and therefore the student shouldn’t have to make up the work because the school should have been closed in the first place so that the student wouldn’t have to miss work.

During periods of distress students may be more inclined to express their religious views. As long as it doesn’t impact my classroom in a disruptive manner, I feel as though they should be allowed to pray and celebrate their religion. For example, if there is a death in the community students may want to pray about it. I wouldn’t participate but I wouldn’t discourage the prayer.

Lastly, religious attire might be something I would need to address in my classroom or school. During my primary and secondary year, I didn’t experience any problems with religious attire in the classroom. However, when I went to college, there was a considerable population of Muslim followers who wore hijabs to class. I absolutely agree that students who wear religious attire should be allowed to wear their garments. While in college, I attended a seminar about this issue and found that some professors felt that the hijabs were impacting the student’s work. I feel that as long as the student freely and willingly wears the hijab they should be allowed to do so. This may be a dress code violation in schools where students aren’t allowed to wear any head coverings. In these cases, I think that the dress code should be amended to allow students to wear their religious attire.

Categories: EDCI 506.

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