- How does understanding culture and power impact your teaching?– These last three weeks have really lead to a lot of self reflection and learning about a culture that is new to me. Listening to other’s advice and knowledge really helps me gain a better understanding for the culture’s past, present and future, and that will be powerful in my classroom. All aspects are important in a classroom, no matter what culture they identify with. Although I have a developed a better background knowledge of Alaskan cultures, I will always continue to learn. The self reflection I have seen in myself and others definitely gives my peers and I some power when it comes to our future in teaching. It has become very apparent that addressing what I identify as my culture directly relates to how I can understand another human being’s culture. We all come from different places and we can all learn from each other.
2. Picking just three words was difficult. I went over there and ended up writing down seven. BUT, if I have to pick three, uncomfortable, hope, and transformation would be the ones I will write about. Uncomfortable: causing or feeling unease or awkwardness. As talked about in the last three weeks, being uncomfortable is important in a classroom. It is one of my jobs, as a teacher, to inform and openly talk about things that may make the students and/or I uncomfortable. If I think back about my time in public school, I can’t remember a time where the teacher talked about something that made me uncomfortable (at least that was memorable). But I do remember a time in college that the whole class was uncomfortable during a topic about consent and rape (it was Human Sexuality). The teacher spent a couple of weeks creating trust, respect and openness within the classroom. When it was time for her to bring up the “lesson” of the week, things started off very quiet. To her, this subject/topic needed to be discussed because the stats that she knew were true (1/4 experience sexual abuse and that most victims/survivors of rape, knew the person) needed some awareness. Thinking back on this class, I learned a lot about facts, experiences and was able to do some healing for myself. I think that this uncomfortable feeling was resolved with support and a better understanding on what WE can do to spread awareness and how to stop this awful and harmful crime.
My second word was hope. This sits so well with me because if I have anything, it’s hope. I have hope that Alaska can change over these unfortunate statistics and I have hope that kindness and appreciate can be shown. Actions are much louder than words, and I plan to be a model for these things; but I will never stop telling my students how much hope and confidence I have in their smarts and ability.
My third word from the word wall was transformation. I think this word encompasses a lot of the work we did in this class. I think it also directly relates to what I wish for my classroom. It’s the transformation that directly correlates to if the student “got it” or not. To see this happen in my class, is something I’m very excited to experience and be apart of.
3. I plan to teach in a culturally responsive way by making sure to include all of my student’s culture within my class. I think it’s important for them to know that I truly care about understanding all of their cultures as well as sharing mine. Because I will be in a science class, I think place-based approach is something I plan to use most often. Going out into the community is important and I think the kids will really get a different look at things with me. I also realized that bringing elders and culture bearers into the classroom isn’t as difficult or intimidating as it seems! Alaska has so much to offer!