Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Problem We All Live With: Quotes

These two radio broadcasts were really interesting to listen to. I found the first part to be more interesting though that part two. Part one's coverage of the Normandy School District being dissolved was sad enough, knowing that all those students had been failed by the city and the state. What was even worse was the meeting held at the new school district, Francis Howell. Listening to those parents go from bad to worse in the tone of their comments was disheartening. Two women in particular stuck out to me. First was the woman who made a connection to the public transit system running through. She said, 
"Years ago, when the MetroLink was being very popular, Saint Charles County put to a vote whether or not we wanted the MetroLink to come across into our community. And we said no. And the reason we said no is because we don't want the different areas-- I'm going to be very kind-- coming across on our side of the bridge, bringing with it everything that we're fighting today against."
She was worried that poorer people of a different race coming over to her city or just passing through would somehow bring violence or worse, people that didn't fit in with the image this woman had in mind of how her city should be. What amazed me the most was how emboldened the crowd got as the meeting went on. Like this woman who said,
"This is not a race issue. And I just want to say to-- if she's even still here, the first woman who came up here and cried that it was a race issue, I'm sorry. That's her prejudice, calling me a racist because my skin is white, and I'm concerned about my children's education and safety." 
"This is not a race issue. This is a commitment to education issue."
To say that this isn't a race issue is a complete lie, especially when a woman before her said in a "very kind" manner that she didn't want people of a different race coming to their side of the bridge. As much as they tried convince themselves and everyone else that education was the issue, race was the real issue.
An image from the Francis Howell-Normandy meeting
The second broadcast was definitely more uplifting but I found less interesting as a whole. One quote that I did like came from Kiana in the first third of the broadcast. She said,
"But if you're always in the same environment, always doing the same things with the same people, you become naive. Or like, you don't really know about the world. It's better if you experience something different, because you get a feel of other people. And you end up changing, you end up becoming a different person, a lot based on the community you're surrounded by. And that's reality. Your environment really makes you."
This cultural exchange is exactly what the integration policy is all about. It gives a chance for students who may not know the culture of power to learn it from students who do. It allows both groups to learn from each other by bringing different experiences to the table. Like Kiana said, it changes the student based on the environment.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kahne and Westheimer: Extended Comments

For my extended comments blog, I chose to write about Mary Abby's blog.

I completely agree with her that these projects have helped us grow as future educators. Over the last few weeks, I've seen myself go from being timid talking to the students to taking charge at times in the classroom. One of those moments for me happened last Friday where my teacher was absent. She didn't notify me she was staying home so I still went to my service learning anyways. I got there and was told the kids were going to be split up into classrooms. I stayed and followed three of the kids into a different advisory room and got to help them. I helped of the girls do research for her project. While doing so, it gave us someone one on one time to get know each other better and share tips. While in between looking for articles or when we took a break, she asked me how I liked the class, what I thought of the different class we're in, etc. I had the opportunity though to ask her how she felt I was doing, what could I improve on, and how I could reach the rest of the class better. It kind of reminded me of Delpit. I was teaching the girl the rules of power in doing research and she was teaching me the culture in the classroom.

Learning how to be a better educator and teaching the students, like Kahne and Westheimer mention, is the overall goal for these projects. As Mary Abby and the authors mention, going into schools in poorer neighbourhoods can be daunting. I was kind of nervous at first as the first scenes of "Freedom Writers" and "Lean on Me" played in my head. My expectations have been completely blown away. Had I not gone into the schools, I might have wrongly carried these stereotypes with me all through college and then into my teaching career.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Christensen: Connections

While reading Christensen's remarks on how cartoons indoctrinate children at such young ages to learn the rules of society, I was immediately reminded of Delpit and her rule that, 
"If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier." (Delpit, 25)
The cartoons, movies, and books we were read as children taught us the rules of power right from the start. Hansel and Gretel taught us to fear strange people. Red Riding Hood taught us to listen to our parents or face the consequences of getting eaten by a wolf. Delpit would completely agree that media is one of the main ways those that stay in power remain in power. It indoctrinates the next generation of power holders how to keep their power as they grow up.

Another connection I saw in this piece was with the McIntosh reading from a couple of weeks ago. Her list on white privilege and Deutsch's list on male privilege applies to the points being made by Christensen in her piece. McIntosh talks about how white people can almost always except to see themselves as the main characters in media. Christensen's discussion about two of her students angry that Disney, at the time of her article, did not have a princess of colour in any of their movies relates back to that point made by McIntosh. Deutsch's male privilege list how in most of the princess movies, the desire of the princess is to meet a man and have all her desires taken care of.
Trust me sweetheart, any man who picks their bride off of one dance and shoe size isn't someone you want to marry.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

August: Hyperlinks

1.Best Practices: Creating an LGBT-inclusive School Climate

This website is an excellent resource for not only making your classroom LGBT friendly but also helping improve your school. Topics covered on the list talk about the importance of gender neutral bathrooms, allowing same-sex couples at prom, forming a Gay-Straight Alliance, and countless other things to improve the school. This goes along with August talking about how it is important to show LGBT students that the school is not just tolerating them but actively seeking to embrace them.

2. 5 Ways to Make Your Classroom LGBT Inclusive
This article from the Huffington Post hits on some of the same action steps that August mentions at the very end of the chapter. Anthony Nicodermo discusses how it is our job as educators to make sure all our students feel comfortable and be able to be themselves while in the classroom. Both Nicodermo and August mention that it is important to patrol language and not only tell the students not to use terms like "That's gay" but educate them why they should not use it. August mentions how one teacher had his students look up the meaning in the dictionary while Nicodermo mentions in his article a poster in a classroom he went into telling students about all the other word choices they can make in place of gay.
The poster that Nicodermo discussed in his article

3. Being an Ally Teacher for LGBT Students

This video is of Justin Smith, a New York City English teacher and Assistant Principal. In the beginning, Mr. Smith talks about the importance of showing students that you're on their side by your language, opinions, or what you teach in the classroom. The second half of the video talks about one of his former students who came out after high school and how Mr. Smith had a positive impact on him when the students was in junior because of a lesson taught in the classroom. Smith used LGBT friendly curriculum, like what August suggests, and it was successful in creating a more positive classroom.