I am very excited to see the responses the student teachers will have and post.
Me Too! Welcome Aboard Ladies ;)
Ashley Peebles6/25/11Willing To Be Disturbed I found this article to be very interesting. As I read through the article I began to reflect on my own abilities to genuinely listen to others and have my ideas challenged. It intrigued me when I read in the article that “when we listen with less judgment, we always develop better relationships with each other.” This made me think about listening to others to actually get their perspective and values on ideas, rather than listening to them to see how differently than them I may think. Also through this reading my eyes were opened to the idea that “we weren’t trained to admit we don’t know,” and I feel this is true because children are relying on us to teach them so we must have all the answers. But the reality is that we are life-long learners, just like we teach our students to be; so opening up ourselves to new challenging ideas that we learn from others can be beneficial for us all. In being “curious rather than certain,” as the article mentioned, we can listen with curiosity, and an open ear and heart to others; then together come to various conclusions, or simply learn to value the differences in each of our thoughts, all while learning more about your own way of thinking, and being introduced, or better informed on a way someone else thinks. Thus meaning you have to be willing to disturb your own thoughts and beliefs in order to learn more from the people around you. Then take your discoveries about diversity into your classrooms and help teach and expose your students to diversity.
This reading really inspired me. The essential idea of allowing yourself to truly listen to the thoughts, beliefs and values of others to form new ideas and work together is really powerful. I think it's a lot easier said than done "to be willing to be disrurbed" by others opinions of the world around us. As the article states, we live in a complex world and I agree that it is absolutely essential to work together to create change. "Yet I believe we will suceed in changing this world only if we can think and work together in new ways." I found this line from the article to be incredibly inspiational especially as part of a new generation of young teachers entering the field. The reason I decided to become an educator is to make a difference and to create change not only in my students' lives but also my own and those I work along side with. I hope that most educators share in this sentiment and I know that many do. It is so true that we all experience life differently and therefore have different viewpoints and interpretations. I find it truly amazing what you can learn from others if you keep an open mind and heart and; furthermore, how that might effect your own life as a whole. The author made a really important point when she stated that we don't have to let go of our beliefs or explanations but we do need to be curious about the beliefs of others. Collaboration is key to making sense of our complicated world and is pertinent to the teaching profession. I hope to help create change by allowing myself to be curious,open minded and to be willing to be disturbed.
Our profession requires us to be flexible in our thinking, humble in our actions, and reflective about our pedagogy. It is one thing to say that we should be open minded, however, practicing what you preach is not always that easy. When interacting with parents, teachers often get frustrated and pass judgment. I have heard some say, "Why don't they just get it together and make sure the homework is done!" Or, "They never attend school functions. Don't they care about their child's education?" Asking or thinking these questions may be your first reaction to a situation. Taking pause to consider the life of the parents and what may be on their plate is more challenging because this profession has come to represent that teachers are the embodiment of what is right. However, how can one teach if they have not experienced making mistakes, being wrong, and owning up to it? For me, Willing to be Disturbed does not take place because we consider another position or perspective, rather when we humble ourselves to the idea that we may be wrong and need to figure out how to provide support absent any judgment.
This article illustrates what the teaching profession is truly about. In order to learn and grow from each other as well as from our students we need to be open-minded and willing to have our values and beliefs challenged. Each individual we encounter brings new knowledge and life experience to the table. I believe that one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is the relationships we build with our students, their families, and our colleagues. We need not to pass judgement on each other but instead ask what can we learn from one another. A colleague recently shared this quote, "True greatness does not happen in isolation." In a world that is constantly evolving, it is essential that we work together.
As a teacher, I feel that it is very important to listen to the perspective and opinions of others even if they vary from your own. By “being willing to be disturbed,” you give yourself the opportunity to learn something new and a chance to see an outlook from another person’s point of view such as a student, parent, colleague or friend. By really listening to others perspectives you may possibly change your own opinion or it will help you validate your current beliefs. Either way it is beneficial and you are growing as a person; you are learning more about your own beliefs and the beliefs of others around you. As the article states, “when we listen with less judgment, we always develop better relationships with each other.” I think this statement is very true; by truly listening to others beliefs we will have a better understanding of one another and this will bring us closer and give us the ability to work together, better. As teachers it is important for us to collaborate amongst one another in order for us to learn from each other, help each other and become all around better educators.
This article made me realize that I am not often willing to be disturbed and I often hide behind my ignorance in conversations. Being able to work with people of varying views allows for rich conversations and authentic experiences in and out of the classroom. We are often taught that as a teacher we must survive alone within our four walls, but in reality we need other viewpoints to help reach all of our students diverse needs.
Privilege, Oppression, and DifferenceChapter 2 is a really powerful piece that I wish everyone could read. Prior to taking college courses such as Africana Studies, Women's Studies and Multicultural Education I had not consciously thought about power and privilege as socially constructed. While I did recognize its existence, as Baldwin explains, "To be white in America means not having to think about it." However, the message behind this article is that we should think about it, discuss it and recognize that power and priviledge (whether earned or unearned) are realities that shape our society and most societies around the world. Most of the information presented in this article is not surprising to me because I have been previously exposed to the idea that difference, race and so fourth is socially constructed. This piece requires the reader to think about power, priviledge, race and opression by recognizing their existence but also asks the reader to personally reflect how they fit into this "picture" as an indivudual. I agree with the author that we are curious about what we don't know and that we are all born curious. As we grow as indivuduals we are shaped by our experiences and surroundings. I think our experiences make a huge contribution to who we are as indivuduals regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.; However, most of what we experience is a result of the classifications just mentioned and thier associated stigmas. These stigmas are socially created and as the author states the trouble with this is that "we think the way our culture defines something like race or gender is simply the way things are in the objective sense." While discussing power and priviledge is difficult and identifying how it fits into your own life is uncomfortable it is absolutely necessary in order to help create change and do something about it.
Through the reading of this article I found interesting insight about power, privilege, difference, and oppression. In terms of privilege and power, being an African American female in this society has presented me with experiences where power and privilege were either minimal or non-existent. However, I feel it is important that those two socially constructed ideas are recognized by all in order for the people in our society to make “healthy” judgments on those different than themselves. Furthermore, I found it interesting that the lack of knowledge related to the fear of the unknown is so prevalent, and is what surfaces inaccurate judgments about others. We all pass judgments, but how we respond to the person we are judging is up to us, therefore we need to be sure that we are educated, and come into the knowledge of understanding other cultures, in order to make “healthy” judgments about those around us. In addition to this, it is important that we recognize what we make judgments about is also socially constructed; if we educate ourselves we can avoid making mistaken judgments about those different than ourselves. Also we need to teach our students not to fear those different than themselves. Rather, they should welcome differences and learn from one another. Being unique is what makes our students special, and to focus on differences in a negative light will only perpetuate the stereotypes and the socially-constructed ideas we are trying to turn our future students away from.
I appreciate the reflections of both Ashley and Kate. Each of you made very valid points about our reality established by a created social construct. Ashley you had mentioned where you do not have privilege. I would like to hear from you both where you feel privileged. For example, I am from a single parent home where education was to be my top priority. I grew up with little economic advantage, have a Spanish sur name, but look white. Although we had no money, society saw me as an educated individual thanks to my upbringing. And, even though I am a woman, I look like a white woman. While my childhood was filled with many challenges and hard times, I still come from a place of privilege. I am curious to know what yours is.
Hey ladies, not sure if you noticed that we made individual prompts for each reading, They can be found on the side of this page. You can respond directly to each reading under the prompt provided. Sorry we didn't tell you this ahead of time. For example if you click on the side at the top of this page where it says Privilege, Power, and Differences you can read the prompt and add anything to what you have said already.