Sunday, February 24, 2013

Safe Places..My think Piece

Safe Places by Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August and Megan Kennedy made me think back to my days in high school and also think about experiences coaching. I am a slightly “older” collage student and had never even heard of gays or lesbians until I was in middle school. Even then our educators did not acknowledge it. I only learned about gays and lesbians from my fellow students who made fun of our female gym teachers.  I wonder how my former middle school and high school now deal with the issue of sexuality as it is much more open in the public then when I attended school.

Several things stated in Safe Places made me stop and think how I treat and handle issues about LGBT students in the guard. I have always tried to make color guard a place where my kids can be themselves. Guard is an activity with many openly gay and lesbians students, teachers and judges. I have had a few gay and lesbian students students but never any transgender (or at least that I know of).  The story about the student who was transgender and did not know what to do when the teacher said “If you are a girl stand up,” made me think about how I may handle certain situations in the future particularly with uniforms. If I have an all girl group I have never thought about having an alternative male uniform option for a student. I also never thought about wording things so if a student does identify as a transgender they would feel comfortable letting myself and their fellow members know.

Another thing that Safe Places made me think about was my History and Social Studies class. In my classes we talked about all sorts of groups and kinds of people, white, black, Hispanic, women, men, etc.  but never anyone  or any groups from LGBT community. If we did their LGBTness was not talked about. Sadly until I read this article I never thought about this before and how these students also need to see others who are like them out in the world and in our schoolbooks. I did not even know there is a LGBT history month!As someone who plans on teaching Social Studies I am extremely thankful to have read this article and have my eyes opened to the lack of LGBTers in our classroom so that I can make sure this does not happen when I teach.

Points to Share:
How do we as educators make sure that our classroom has both windows and mirrors or LGBT students when textbooks are so lacking in this area?

This was written by a gay man who say Flaggots at a parade. Flaggots is a LGBT color guard that performs in Pride Parades across the country. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Connecting Aria

When reading Richard Rodriquez’s Aria my thoughts were drawn back to a story in Lisa Delpit’s article The Silenced Dialogue. In the article Delpit talks about a women named Martha Demientieff who teaches Native Alaskan students English. Unlike the nun’s in Rodriquez’s life, Demientieff embraces her students native language. She tells her students what Rodriquez admits in his article, that his native language is private language, English was a public language where  “…words are directed to a general audience of listeners. And the point was not self expression alone but to make one understood by others.” I have to wonder what Rodriquez’s experience learning English would have been like if the nun’s teaching method was like that of Demientieff’s. I even wonder how it would have effected his parents. Would it have helped to straighten the families bond even more?

I did not connect Allan Johnson’s Privilege, Power and Difference  until I read Ashley’s blog post. Afterwards I went back over my notes from Johnson. The nun’s in Rodriquez’s article thought they were doing the right thing. They knew that to obtain power and maybe even privilege that Rodriquez must speak  the language of the a white American male, English. For Rodriquez learning English may have helped him gain power but for his father it only seemed to serve as a reminder that he was not in a position of power or privilege and that he was more a  second class citizen. His father only seemed to come alive when speaking his native language with those like him, those who accepted him for who he was and was like him. Again I have to wonder if they had an experience like Demientieff’s students what the outcome of this family would have been.

My question for the class is: Are any of you bilingual? Did you learn English as a second language? If so what was helpful,what was harmful. If you had to teach you English what would have have done different?

                                              Aria by Yanni...yep I am a Yanni fan. LOL

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Peggy McIntosh Quotes That Made Me Think

For my first blog assignment I have decided to write about Peggy McIntosh's White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I knew when I read what she said about bandages being flesh colored that her paper was what I was going to write about. As silly and unimportant as it may seem compared to other examples, what drove home her point about power and privilege was when she said: “I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color that more or less matches my skin.” The reason this quote stood out so strongly to me is that it is something that has never ever occurred to me. I know that most dolls and action figures are white but I have never though about bandages! I (like most white people) would call bandages flesh colored never stopping to think or even ask why flesh colored only means cream colored skin tone or to even question why none are black colored.
Which brings me to the next quote: “Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. Until this class I was one of those students. I never though about being white. If I had to describe myself to someone who had never seen me I say I am polish or American but not white. I see now that I do not think of my whiteness as an identity or an issue or racism because unlike being black it does not hinder me from power or privilege.
Another thing McIntosh said that stood out to me was “I was taught to see racism only in individual 
acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” Honestly until our class started I too looked at racism as acts of meanness. I never gave much thought to racism being in something as simple as the color of a bandage or even a doll or action figure. I never realized that I benefit from racism. It’s a sad and scary thing to know this. At the end of the article McIntosh asks the question, “What will we do with such knowledge?” That is the same question I was asking myself by the end of the article. This is the question I will be asking during our class discussion.



Just a little about me...

 I grew up in a small town in Indiana. My husband and I moved to R.I. two years ago so he could take a job at Brown. We have four fur kids: two cats and two dogs. I am the color guard coach for the East Providence Crimsonettes. I was a terrible high school student and almost did not graduate. Had it not been for an amazing teacher, I had would have dropped out of school. After coaching a few years in Indiana I found I loved working with the kids and making a difference in their lives, so after being out of school for over 10 years I decided to go back and become a teacher.

                                      My Hound/Shepard mix Lake and my Australian Cattle Dog Tyson

                                              My amazing girls: The Crimsonette Color Guard