ED 100- Learning Experience #2
March 24, 2022
The assigned reading was New Teacher Book: Finding purpose, balance, and hope during your first years in the classroom. The assigned reading was set up into multiple different stories into one chapter. The different readings were How Do I Stay in a Profession that Is Trying to Push Me Out? by John Terry, Dear White Teacher by Chrysanthius Lathan, Restorative Justice in the Classroom by Camila Arze Torres Goita, Q/A Section, and Girls Against Dress Codes by Lyn Mikel Brown. The reading How Do I Stay in a Profession that Is Trying to Push Me Out? was about a teacher who moved away from the norms and made the decision of doing what was right for him in his classroom. He wanted to rely more on the students’ experiences, passions, and knowledge. The teacher felt like no one could relate to what he was teaching besides other teachers. This made him determined to receive support from his colleagues. Along with this, he learned new inspiration for practices from his colleagues. Which made him feel like his lessons were valuable and this brought him joy. He eventually started meeting with his coworkers often to learn more strategies to incorporate in his classroom about human rights principles across grade levels and disciplines. The next section of the reading focuses on a black teacher being upset that the white teachers are sending their colored students to the black teachers to be disciplined rather than the white teachers disciplining them themselves. The same black teacher named Mrs. Lathan always got sent the same colored students from other white teachers and she always wondered why did the students always come to her for timeouts. The students answered by responding with things like, “Mrs. Lathan, you know they’re scared of us and our parents, too. That’s why they don’t be calling home. They just send us to you”, “It’s because they ain’t got no control of the classroom, Mrs. Lathan!”, “They send us here when they get tired of us”, “Only certain kids get sent out for doing the same things white kids do, maybe just a little louder or bolder, so we get caught” and “You talk to us like our moms and aunts; you expect us to do right and if we don’t, you make us tell our parents what we’re not doing” (the students in Mrs. Lathan’s timeouts). Furthermore, Mrs. Lathan was determined to figure out why the white teachers didn’t discipline the students, and based on conversations and observations with her colleagues she came to the conclusion that many white teachers are afraid that their good actions will be labeled as racist. Rather than the teachers facing their fear of being seen as racist, they rather pair students with teachers who sound or look like them in the name of having a positive role model. Additionally, many whites are discouraged thinking that they are ill-equipped to the needs of students of color because they don’t have the same experiences as those which leads to the teachers freezing. Mrs. Lathan says, “You must confront your own discomfort at all costs.” and “My strength in the classroom does not come from my racial identity, and neither does yours. It comes from the way we treat and what we expect from kids and families” (Mrs. Lathan). The next reading focuses on the root of acting out rather than concentrating on punishment and blame. The teacher in this reading wanted to build a community in her classroom to create a fun and safe space for everyone. This reading says, “restorative justice ultimately helps address both my classroom management and time issues while engaging students in learning; it also parallels a social justice curriculum that honors students’ voices and empowers them to act and make changes when they observe injustice” (Restorative Justice in the Classroom by Camila Arze Torres Goita). With this, the teacher incorporated in her classroom that the students sit in a circle to enable the students to feel seen and heard in the classroom. The Q/A section discusses the idea of discipline and restorative justice with alternative ways to punitive approaches. The last reading talks about the SPARK movement which is a girl-fueled activist project. These girls are a part of a movement of dress codes. The SPARK movement was led by two middle school girls who created the school’s first feminist group. The talk about dress codes and the SPARK movement influenced students to become an activist within their community. The girls said what would make a good dress code policy which was “Each dress code rule must have an explanation”, “A good dress code applies to everyone; there are no gender-specific rules, no double standards.”, “A good dress policy code addresses the realities of poverty and social class” (Students). These readings are developed by teachers who are learning and growing from their surroundings, striving to reach the goals that they envision. I think the author wants to show that for first-year teachers or just new teachers in general there are going to be challenges that you may face in the beginning. However, there are ways to overcome these challenges that one may face. The point of view of these readings is a social justice perspective because they recognized the importance of equality and community for all. My learning circle decided to focus on restorative justice which is empowering students to resolve problems in small groups and own their own. We emphasized restorative justice because for us all being future educators it’s important to understand that there will be problems in your classroom. However, you have to know how to handle these situations the ‘correct’ way. The design of our learning experience was to inform our classmates while including different discussion questions to keep them engaged as much as possible. We used a google slide https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/11_K_Ft0Ab4qESoT0BPIXbiIjKxk2yByoX-tSwEH4nUA/edit?usp=sharing to present our lesson to the class. My contribution to the design of the learning experience was to read my assigned slides and elaborate on them as much as I could to enable our classmates to understand the concept. Additionally, it was my responsibility to create colorful pieces of paper for the class to write down their responses to the question that I presented. Also, when the groups were discussing within their groups, it was my responsibility to engage conversation with groups and make sure that they fully understood what each quote or question was saying. For the most part, the majority of the class was engaged in the lessons that we presented.