Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Apr 14, 2010

Self Awareness in Teachers

We Have a Responsibility to Face Ourselves

Every person on this earth is socialized to perceive their culture group as superior to others. It’s just human nature. Whether the culture group is based on race, religion, gender, class, or language, it is common to form some prejudices. The longer I teach, the more concerned I become about the lack of self awareness in many educators, and what I perceive as complete obliviousness to notions of superiority. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone who has taught in an urban setting for any amount of time at all cannot easily recognize the institutional racism and the white priviledge attitudes that dominate. I am so past the point of debating this or preaching about it. I am in season of my life where I just want to make things better, but I am at a loss of how to go about doing this. The old saying, “change myself, change the world” is illustrative of my current frame of mind. I know that the best way to influence positive change is by modeling it. So I have committed to doing the following: I will thoroughly analyze my own prejudices. I will do some serious soul-searching to try and determine the origin of these prejudices and figure out how much a part of my daily life these beliefs are? I think that it will be really difficult, but I know that I am also going to have to admit how I benefit from my prejudices. In addition, I will need to understand how my prejudices may harm me too. I know that I have a professional and ethical responsibility to explore the ways in which my prejudices may be affecting my beliefs and attitudes about students, parents, and public education. Lastly, I have to use the information that I gain to make some changes. All of the self-awareness in the world does me no good if I am not able to utilize it to form some sort of growth/action plan.I think that the most frustrating thing for me is when I attempt to initiate a conversation about these types of issues with others, and they automatically say, “I don’t have any prejudices!” I just think that if a person is in denial, the likelihood of them growing is just about all but diminished and they shouldn’t be allowed to work with children.Lately, I’m thinking so much about making the transition to higher education. Over the course of my career, I’ve certainly tried to be a teacher leader and influence teachers to develop and grow in order to better serve their kids. However, I’m feeling very defeated lately. I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I feel like it’s getting harder and harder to taking the high road. I’m becoming more and more lonely and isolated and I often catch myself preaching at others (which everyone knows is a total waste of time and energy)! In a college setting, however, perhaps I would be better able to influence, motivate, encourage, develop, and mentor teachers-to-be. I just see this self awareness process as so crucial to the development of teachers, yet it is not even a focus in traditional teacher education programs.For now, all I can do is model what it means to be a multicultural educator. I will continue to strive to be culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of the children and families I serve. I will continue to regularly examine the ways in which cultural diversity affects teaching and learning.

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