Sunday, February 22, 2015

Safe Spaces

Just by the name of this article, I knew it wasn't going to be a positive one, rather sharing horrible stories of experiences. So I read other people's blogs before I started reading, and I was even more shocked than the actual article. Many people wrote that they had no interaction with LGBT communities, or even knew anything about it. They wrote that they're schools didn't address it or notice it, which is just awful to me. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. My close family members are drag queens, gay men who dress as women. (Some of them are really attractive men and then they transform into beautiful women. It's amazing.) So I've been around them, in both forms, my whole life and it is nothing different from everyone else. About five of my neighbors are lesbians, all with one or two children. They are definitely my favorite neighbors, not because they are lesbians, but because all my other neighbors are a lot weirder than a different sexual orientation. I was in a school that accepted these students and it was great when those kids felt they could be who they are. Not that we spoke of LGBT or focused on it in school, because we didn't have too. They were accepted and treated just like everyone else. I've never known a Transgender until about three years ago. I volunteer for Special Olympics and a male joined the swim team. We became really great friends and always talked. I later found out that he was born a female, but felt that it wasn't who he really was. It went through everything and now he is simply happy. How are you going to discriminate against someone who is happy? 
I really liked Marley's approach, the teacher who helps educators in classrooms k-12, she address the questions and isn't afraid to see the response of others. She speaks of own experiences in her classroom and also gives out articles, which I think is such a great idea to get people more aware. Don't treat this like an elephant in the room. Don't tiptoe around the differences like it isn't there. In high school, I took a psychology class and one of the topics we learned about was a shortened version of LGBT. There was a student in the class who was a lesbian, and another who was gay, and the teach asked both of them too share experiences and explain to the rest of the class what it means. It was really eye-opening to the rest of the class. If a teacher is just dismissing it, the student will feel out of place and the teacher just shouldn't be a teacher. (Sorry, harsh I know) But truthfully, as a teacher, you are expected to educate students in all you know, and I believe that it goes just beyond the 4 basic Subjects. We are supposed to teach them about life, world, and everything in between. So if we aren't going to address the reality of the world, what are we really teaching students? That is one of the realities of the world. 
I also loved Patrick's approach into telling the students not to use the word "gay" like they were. He handled that situation like a real teacher would. If I was in that situation, I would have done the same exact thing. Gay is not a word to call something or someone stupid, and it is certainly not an insult. On the other hand, Marcus' teacher did not handle the situation correctly. Sending a student to the principals because he used the word Gay in the correct way? I don't understand how a teacher can feel that is a right thing to do. I was upset just reading that.  "Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end these problems."-McIntosh. These are individual acts that can absolutely end these problems in not accepting humans. 
This article I feels relate to the first text we read this year. Johnson described the issues that occurred in the schools and what they truly meant. This is one of the situations that are now more prominent in schools and how we have to embrace it, rather than ignore it. I also relate this to the text, Power, Privilege and Differences, where Kozol says that we don't use the word "privilege" because we don't like to accept it. "Transgender," "bi," "gay," are all words that people are afraid to use for no reason. It doesn't make any sense to me. This also relates to SCWAAMP. The S stands for straightness, which is something that America accepts as the correct view in our society, which is wrong. Things are changing everyday. Everyone who is anything besides straight is a PERSON. They are a human beings in this world; no difference between me and you. We need to start accepting and doing something about it. 

P.S. I didn't know where to put this into my article, but this is a really cool website, GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. I found an interesting article they wrote about research based on LGBT in middle school. I wrote too much already, but I hope someone brings up Teen Suicides because of these reasons!!! 

Topic Point: I could go on forever about this topic, so sorry for being so straight forward! But how would you handle a situation as a teacher if something came up in your classroom one day? Also, I know it's a difficult question. But why are so many people not welcoming to LGBT's? Are they afraid of differences? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Reading Aria by Richard Rodriguez, was really interesting. I liked that it was a story and he shared his emotions and feelings through story telling, rather than stating the facts like the other pieces we have read. I decided to do an extended comment for my blog and I'm connected it with Josh! (Who did a really nice job on his work and I really liked it)
For Josh's first quote he chose, I completely thought of the same thing. I could not believe that the nuns would come in and tell Richard's parents that. I felt that they thought they had more power over the family to tell them what to do. Also, Christy mentioned this in her blog as well, but that he should feel comfortable in his home and speaking Spanish is what they do to feel comfortable. Now its like his in a whole new and different place. I took spanish in High School and my teacher moved to the US when she was 20 and learned English and decided to be a Spanish teacher. She gets stuck sometimes and still has a thick Spanish accent and it was difficult to understand her. All I can think about is going into HER home or HER classroom and saying "you need to learn better English". (Which I would never do, she was an amazing teacher) Awful, just sad to think about?
The second quote Josh chose was something I picked out immediately as well and it stood out to me. I knew it was a powerful sentence, but I didn't look that deep into it until I read Josh's explanation. He said that Richard didn't feel like he belonged or wasn't apart of the country he was born in, just because he didn't speak English. I just thought the sentence was saying once he spoke english for the first time he was proud and felt like he made an achievement. But he wasn't proud of himself, because it was something that he was forced to do. It wasn't so much as a goal or something to accomplish, he HAD to do it. Up until that point, he was just Richard Rodriguez, not Richard the American citizen. And like Josh said, I feel bad for him as well. Reading Josh's explanation reminded me of Grinner's SCWAAMP. One of the components of being a true american is Whiteness and American-ness, both of which were not Richard. Sure he was born in America, but he wasn't an American to society because he wasn't white, he Had a spanish last name, english wasn't his first language, and so on? Then I started to feel even more sad for him because I couldn't imagine ever feeling that way too.
The last quote Josh picked out broke my heart even more than his second quote. Just Richard explaining how much has life had changed, when he didn't even ask for it too. He was uncomfortable when the nuns came in and forced them to speak English more, now his whole world was changed upside down. His home life was different, but now everything is different. Josh makes a great point that he learned English in an awful, forceful way. I wonder if he had learned it in an easier and more caring way, things might have been different. In the other reading, Teaching multilingual students, the author speaks of different ways that they can work to teach those students. Some of those should have been used to help Richard. Josh also put up a nice picture of a face with spanish near the brain and english in the mouth. I thought it was really powerful because thats exactly what it really is. The brain is telling you to speak what you know, but your mouth forces you to say what you have to say. Really compelling.

The two videos were exactly what Josh said: eye opening. I can't even describe them in a way that moves you because there are so any thoughts running through my mind! The facts were just so powerful and things that you couldn't believe. It was a mixture of laughs and facts to get everyone to realize the strength of what is going on. Our world has focused on simply english, and all the other languages are nothing compared to. There should be all these languages in the school systems, other than spanish, and french (those were the only ones at my high school). Josh made a good point in his blog that education in schools should be teaching English, not at the homes. I found a short article about language barriers in schools, really interesting I think. Home is for homework, so you work on school work at home but if you're having trouble, school is where they help you fix you're difficulties! I would love to learn another language! Without different languages, the world is just boring I believe. Why wouldn't you Want a group of diverse humans coming together and being united? I feel that is just wonderful.

Josh, you did a great job!! I loved everything you spoke about and your thoughts were really strong and eye opening as well. :)
Topic: Did anyone else take a language in high school and college? How was your experience?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

White Privilege Knapsack

Let me first start off by saying, I read McIntosh's first because I read everyone's blog about Amazing Grace and I couldn't bare to read it and have awful thoughts in my mind. So I decided to write about this one because even though they are both to scary to be true, Kozol's made me really nervous and scared because I don't want to face that truth.
So, I read White Privilege Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh and I really enjoyed it. It was along the same lines as Kozol's first piece we read, Privilege, Power, and Difference. The author talked about the issue of whites, specifically males, having more privileges over other races. This is what the first article we read was about. The article was very interesting and there were many quotes that I really liked, but I chose the ones that stood out the most to me.
1. "I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will." (2)
      -I had to sit here and think about this quote for a few minutes because it made my mind run. I believe that everyone should be raised to learn that. You become the person you are from how you are raised and you should know that with hard work and determination, you will succeed, not because you are White or Male. You will receive great things if you are a nice and true person, not because you are white. That's how the way things should work. I feel that people don't think about this too often and they should. There is this really nice article from a student at Princeton (2014),  who describes exactly what this quote is saying. I really enjoyed reading it because it was true and real, he learned the right way, which is how we should all be taught. 
2."In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantage systems at work, we need to similarly examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethic advantage, or physically ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation," (5). 
     -The author just got through with speaking that some don't classify "whiteness" as an advantage, and if so, just think about all the other advantages that are in the world. She described that students may not think whiteness is an advantage. (Which I disagree with. I know students of other race believe in this and me, being white, is know realize this is true because of what we have read). But all the other advantages are present in the world today. This quote directly deals with the lesson we learned about SCWAAMP. These "advantages" are what we value most in our world today and not many people realize that. But they are all true. 
3."Individual acts can palliate, but cannot end these problems." (6)
     -I'm not sure if it's because I'm naive and still believe that there is good in the world, but I truly believe that these problems can end. If every individual in the world can make one simply act, then eventually all of the problems will end. It won't happen over night, and it might not happen completely in our lifetime. I think of it as the Ripple Effect. Someone throws a pebble into the water, and it creates a ring, and then another, and then there are many rings. Someone throwing that pebble into the water is an act and then others follow the act and it because larger, until eventually the ripples, problems, are gone. (I can't remember if the Ripple Effect is considered a bad thing or not, but I look at it as a good thing.) Or you can think of it like Professor Bogad described with tapping on the glass, creating cracks, until it eventually breaks altogether. There will be many pebbles to throw and many mirrors to break, but I want to believe that these issues will end. It also relates back to the first quote I chose, that we need to have moral will to succeed, not just privileges.

Topic to Discuss: When i'm writing, I just can't stop! I have so many things to say so I might just be babbling, sorry. Am I the only one? Also, for the ones who read Kozol's piece, why did you chose that one over this one?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Silenced Dialogue- Edited!

A Silenced Dialogue, by Lisa Delpit, was a very interesting article to read, although I enjoyed it, I feel like the comments stated were ones that I figured out on my own, yet were sad to actually read. However, there were a few statements that stood out to me and caught my attention. In the first paragraph, the author is speaking to a Black teacher in an urban elementary school and discussing certain instances she has had. 
"White people think that know what's best for everybody, for everybody's children"(21). 
          -This stood out because the teacher has been through it first hand in the school system and the way other faculties and parents are approaching her. She has seen that the way she teaches, others believe that it is not right and she could be doing more, when she is doing the best she can. It makes me upset that people have come to this reasoning, and others are letting it happen. This leads to the author describing that there are five rules of people or culture with power. I believe that the Black teacher feels she has no power over the White people telling her what to do. 
The next quote I found interesting was "many liberal educators hold that the primary goal for education is for children to become autonomous, to develop fully who they are in the classroom setting without having aribitary, outside standards forced upon them"(28). 
          - In this comment, I took it that higher authoritative people believe children learn who they are and their best inside a learning classroom. However, I completely disagree, I feel that children learn who they are outside of the classroom, as well. I think that children discover more things about themselves than just school work or how they are labeled in a classroom. This also relates back to the issue of people having more power than others and thinking that their opinions are more important. This comment really made me think about how I feel if someone said that to me. 
          -EDITED: This quote and the explaination that I wrote about reminds me of Shor. Shor speaks of socialization for the students and that it is a great thing for them to do. He says that we shouldn't be just focusing on the basic subjects, which is true. Student's learn so much more than just outside of the classroom and that is where they realize the joy in learning. Shor says that the attitude of the teacher and the students plays a big role, which I agree on that. It is just the power of the school and teachers who believe that learning is strictly in the classroom. However, Shor would have to say the opposite, and I agree with him!
The last quote that I found really interesting was "I am also suggesting that appropriate education for poor children and children of color can only be devised in consultation with adults who share their culture. Black parents, teachers of color. And members of poor communities must be allowed to participate fully in the discussion of what kind of instruction is in their children's best interest"(45).
           - I think that this comment is extremely important because it is true. Parents and adults know their children better than anyone else and they should have in say in how they are taught. They know what is right for them and they should be allowed to act upon that. However, not everyone believes that should be the case, and thats wrong. Delpit said "both student and teacher are expert of what they know best," and that is certainly true and both can learn from each other. 
          -EDITED: This reminds me of when we spoke of Brown vs. Board of Education. One father pushed for his daughter to be at the right school and get the same education as the white schools. He knew what was best for his daughter and he made sure that is what he was going to get. Even though they were not so much poor, they were still classified as that because they were African Americans and during that time it was seen as unequal. No matter who the parent is, the parent should always play a role in their child's education. 

Here is an interesting article that I found, from 2012. It is an interview with Lisa Delpit and her theories and points made in this article we read. 

Comment: What exactly is Distar? Which schools did this program take place in?  I was a little confused.