I have been meaning to get back to my blog for a long time now. The evenings just seem to disappear lately. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my last blog.
I have found all these discussions about culturally responsive teaching absolutely absorbing. This program itself has opened my eyes to some of the ideas and this class has made me think about these issues in a new way. For the first time in my life that I can remember I am now a part of a minority in that I am a male in a largely female dominated field. Granted I don’t think I am part of a discriminated minority but it still gives me a bit of a feel for how easily people can type cast you just because of your appearance and gender. This fact is reinforced each time I walk into a staff room and hear comments such as, “so I guess you’re interested in grade 6 and 7”, “when are you going back for your masters so that you can get into administration”, and my personal favorite, “you will have no trouble getting a job because you are a male.” In fact I am interested in K-7 (the K’s in my last practicum survived just fine), I want to teach not politic, and it would bother me greatly if I was hired over another teacher based purely on gender. The long and short of it is that I have become much more sensitive to gender issues. I now feel the need to challenge some people’s concepts of gender roles because it gives me great satisfaction to see their reactions. (Hence the use of a pretty pink pen in a certain profs. class).
On the other hand I find myself trying to disassociate myself from the dominant culture in some way. It makes me want to break out in the chorus to NoFX’s Don’t Call Me White
or maybe even Kill All the White Man
by the same band. Does it matter where I came from, who I actually am, or what image I portray? I find myself creating justifications to remove myself from a group whose perspective I am not comfortable with. “I’m not regular white… I am Dutch-Canadian; first generation; my parents aren’t even Canadian for Pete’s sake; I have no direct association with the terrible acts I read about in Canadian History
.” Of course this justification requires me to entirely ignore all the terrible things about Dutch culture (such as the start of the slave trade; but that’s not me: I’m a Canadian
;P ). And so round and round it goes. Certainly it doesn’t matter who I actually am on the inside, after all who takes the time to get to know someone before judging them? (insert sarcastic smile here) We are therefore left with the image I portray. That leaves me as a mid-twenties, white, blonde hair, blue-eyed, male, North-American, consumer, with no concept of the world beyond my vision. Scary… To outsiders I look like the greatest oppressor there has ever been. I don’t think I am this person and I certainly don’t want to be him. That is what makes this class so critical to our futures. Understanding how to look at yourself as others see you, understand your own biases, and see what we are fed from our culture (books, radio, television etc.) is critical for us to ensure that negative aspects of ourselves and our histories (whether our own or that of our image) is not passed down to our students. I want my students to be able to think for themselves and critically examine everything that reaches them (what is the source, what are the biases, how will this affect my thinking, etc.).
Certainly election time is an excellent time to practice your questioning skills. Think about who is telling you things. What is being talked about. What is not be talked about (apparently we don’t have an environment to talk about anymore). And please don’t vote for Paul Harper or Stephen Martin... and what’s with that other guy saying “vote for me ‘cause you hate the other guys worse…” shouldn’t you actually tell me about your platform?
I seem to be turning this into a rant so maybe I will cut it off here. If you read this far you should be congratulated. I hope I have not offended anyone but if I have maybe next time you can stop reading sooner… Anyway, I think I am going to go watch CNN to take my mind off of world politics and the truth.
NEWS BULLITIEN: George W. Bush left the White House to visit all friendly nations this morning; he will be back this afternoon.