As I recently finished teaching a class on Managing Diversity, I found this article from the Center for Teaching and Learning at The University of North Carolina interesting. Highlights for me included:
"When we speak of diversity in the classroom, we usually focus on the diversity of the students in the room. We often forget that the teacher also brings a range of diversity issues to the classroom. Every teacher brings his or her physical appearance and culture into the room at the same time as the students do. How you look, how you speak, how you act upon your opinions of the role of academics (and particularly of the class you teach), and the extent to which these differ from the physical, cultural and intellectual backgrounds of your students will have a profound effect on the interactions in your classroom. Thus you need to be aware of possible reactions among the students to your race, gender, age, ethnicity, physical attributes and abilities. Preparing for such reactions will involve not only knowing as much as you can about your students, but also turning the mirror to yourself, and finding out more about your own diversity issues."
The article ends with some great advice:
"Also remember that no matter your age, your experience in the field will be far greater than that of your students. Through your studies, you have internalized complex ideas about your subject that now sound "natural." Your students may never have heard of these ideas, and will need some time to absorb them. Anyone who has studied a subject for a long time, or is already used to teaching it, often forgets what it is like to learn something entirely new. Teaching from the standpoint of knowledge makes acquiring the facts of your field look easy. In order to stay in touch with how students experience your class, try learning something completely new yourself; or, try changing your class materials so that you explore a new topic along with your students. This keeps you on your toes as you teach, and also may lead to new insights to your subject that you and your students can discover together."