I’m a product of my background.
I grew up on a farm in southeast Iowa. I went to school in a small town of approximately 6,000 citizens. We were a homogeneous community. Our biggest disagreements were between Democrats and Republicans or Catholics and Methodists. Words. Not anger. Not distrust. Words. There was one African American family. One family. Although I graduated as one of 171 students in my class, there was no diversity at my grade level. None.
When I attended junior college, I was in a town of 20,000+. Diversity, some. And yet, our school was small enough that I knew people as individuals and not as a “racial group”. So it was a culture shock when at 19, I moved on to a university dorm in a town of 30,000+ with girls who didn’t look like me, didn’t talk like me, and who didn’t want to talk to me. I was totally unprepared.
What could have prepared me?
Relationships matter. People matter. When we understand our own relationships, we are better able to support the students in our classrooms. What happens when students want to talk about topics like race, gender, politics, religion and sexuality? Are you comfortable with those topics? What if their need to discuss those issues is so powerful that they can’t focus on learning until their conversation takes place. What are your options? One beginning point is to pick up Sara K Ahmed’s book, Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension. It’s an EASY read. What’s tough is actually “doing the work” yourself in order to become “comfortable with the discomfort” that comes with learning and growing.
Here are just a few quotes from Sara for you to think about:
If you read and loved Upstanders, Sara K. Ahmed, will be no surprise to you. She’s bright, articulate and so ready to challenge the complexities of the world. Heinemann has a podcast here where you can hear directly from Sara about this book.
What are you learning?
What do you know about “social comprehension”?
Join the #G2Great chat Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 8:30 EST to learn from Sara!
Wakelet archive from #G2Great chat here.
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.