Teaching Inequalities-Week Seven Reflection

This week I made a strong decision to start teaching about things that mean something to me. I spend a lot of time talking with those that know me about the inequalities of the world, but I have been nervous about bringing them into my own classroom. I have no idea why I have been nervous, I know that my students are great, and that they have strong and passionate ideas about everything, but I was very hesitant about bringing in the topic of inequalities up with these students. However, between the Treaty Ed Camp that I attended a few weekends ago, and the book I am reading “White Like Me” by Tim Wise, I have been feeling guilty about letting my fear get to me. So I decided to take a chance and have my students participate in a talking circle. With a class of 9, the circle covers a lot of information quickly and jumps topics fast. But I also get to make sure that all students get to voice their opinions, thoughts, and questions. Since this is a class that can be a little (or  a lot) wild, I thought it best to have students start with something small, so the first attempt was their name, and what they did on the weekend. Which led into 4 students watching the Jays defeat the Texas Rangers, this led to a student mentioning that at the game against the Orioles that someone threw a beer can at the ball, but the Jays issued an apology. Which some how spiraled off that the Jays, and the city should not be responsible for the actions of a fan, just like how the class should not be held responsible for the actions of one classmate, or that the actions of one person does not many that every person that looks like them, or acts like  them are responsible for the actions of the wrong-doer. These students, who have never really experienced a world outside of their own protect bubble could instantly grasp that just because one person does something wrong does not mean that every person of that race or culture is to blame. It was at this point that I was happy with my decision to bring in talking circles into the classroom.

Friday last class, or more specifically the last class of the week will be for the talking circle that allows for reflection. Friday was my holy crap moment, when a student, who is often regarded as being a nuisance in class, spoke up about an issue that was brought up in class. Earlier in the week Donald Trump released an image of the people voting for him, the largely red map concern all students in my class. I spent some time investigating and found out about the #repealthe19th movement currently happening. This one student spoke up saying women not being allowed to vote is as stupid as First Nations people not being able to vote, and going back to worse times did not make the world better, and people that thought it did clearly care more about themselves than the rest of the population. Coming from a student that appears to take very few things in life seriously you know that this is a strong opinion of his, which means that I finally feel like all the stuff I have been teaching them is actually getting through to them. I ended the class saying that each student is to do two nice things for people that they do not know, so I guess I will see where this goes on Monday. Overall the week was busy but beneficial for both the students and I.

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