This week, my ECS 210 class was asked to read Chapter 3 from Kumashiro’s Book ‘Against Common Sense’. This chapter talked about uncertainty and certain lessons that could appear in teachers’ curriculums – both unintended and intended. On page 41, Kumashiro stated that, “we need to be examining our lessons and lenses, their political implications, and possible alternatives”. This week, we were asked to look deeper into our autobiographies (one which I will post on my blog later this week).
In my autobiography, I reflected on past experiences that made me want to become a teacher. This included people, events, etc. However, although this was my autobiography, I did not address my gender, sexuality, or race. Why? Well, I find myself asking that very question. I guess that I was more concerned with focusing on educational experiences rather than simply looking at myself. I wrote about people & places that have shaped me to become the future educator that I am today. However, one person that I forgot to mention was myself. I didn’t look deep enough into my own identity and how it can shape my classroom.
“I am a white, straight, middle-class female.” This was one sample sentence that I could have opened with. Instead, I chose to dive right into the moment that I decided to become a teacher and not necessarily the moments specific to my own personal identity.
It’s not that I’m ashamed of being white. Or female. Or straight. It’s just that at the time, writing my autobiography, I simply didn’t see these things as relevant. I felt that they were not necessary to include in my paper. But, looking back on the whole writing experience, I feel that I should have mentioned more about my identity. Because every part of me shapes who I am, relevant or not.
In my paper, I did, however, realize that in my future classroom, I need to be careful not to push my own life into the classroom without taking into account the many differences in each student. This includes being aware of hidden curriculums that may come across in my lessons. I always knew that it would be hard for me to shape an anti-oppressive classroom while being aware of the many lenses throughout the class. But, as Kumashiro states, “we should expect that our teaching cannot help but to have hidden lessons” (41). So, I hope to one day have a neutral classroom. Making this neutral classroom will be tough but it will be one thing that I hope to achieve throughout my teaching career.
“The point is to not only teach children what to think, but also how to think.”