Kiwi teacher’s heartwarming lesson teaching kids anti-racism goes viral

Photo / samantharichards_ via Instagram

Photo / samantharichards_ via Instagram

A Kiwi teacher has gone viral for proving that it’s possible to talk to kids about the tough subject of racism in a way that they can understand it.

Auckland primary school teacher Samantha Richards took to Instagram to share a lesson she had with her class discussing the differences and similarities people have.

In the video - which has since had more than 106,000 views - shows Samantha asking her class what really matters, how people look on the outside, or what everyone has on the inside.

The reactions of acceptance from her class of Year 2 children are both heartwarming and encouraging.

"There are lots of gentle and organic ways to talk about race with kids. I thought I’d share one way that I like to start the conversation within my own class," she wrote alongside the video.

"Every year I have this exact discussion with my kids," she explained. "Usually, it’s on a day towards the end of the year when I bring my brother into school. I do it to show them that even though Nick has DS and looks different to us, he still has a brain and a heart just like us. And those are the two things that matter the most.

"My kids are pure and good. Right now they don’t see colour or race. They see their classmates as their friends. As their team. As their school whanau. But one day they might grow up to think or see differently.

"But, if at least one of my students can think back to this conversation and remember that NOTHING on the outside matters - then that’s enough for me."

She later added in another post: "I’ve been thinking a lot about the quote, be the change you want to see in the world."

"As a teacher, I believe my job goes beyond reading, writing and maths," she wrote. "I truly feel that I have a responsibility to model and teach compassion, empathy and tolerance". ⁣

"My goal is to produce students that can think critically, are anti-racist, loving and kind. ⁣

"It’s a big task. But I am more than willing to work at it all year long. Every year. For my entire career as a teacher. Because these kids are our future and this will matter even when the protests end and the social media posts slow down."

Speaking with the NZ Herald, Samantha says feedback from parents has been "incredible".

"I've received a few messages from parents saying that their children have come home and expressed that they feel seen, important and loved. It's encouraging for me to hear that the conversations that we have in class continue on at home."