Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gender and James Bond

Perspective is very important, as I’ve been learning. With all the different students from different socioeconomic levels, cultures, and more, there’s something that half the class will be (unless it’s an all boys/girls school); half the class is female and half is male. Maybe I’m just stating the obvious, but it really makes a difference in how you teach. It’s important to note, as an aside, that along with race, you don’t want to be gender invisible. It’s another community with which we belong. It must be respected, but that isn’t to say that women and men aren’t each capable in their own right. Women mustn’t be ignored with regards to maths and sciences. But I, being male, must also understand how women see themselves. It’s an age old idea that men never ‘get’ women, that we can’t ever really understand, but I believe that false. Of course, I don’t know, but I can listen, be attentive and try to understand. It’s a time when students are developing so rapidly. We’re prepping them for their lives. They need to understand that gender can’t keep them down. That there are women scientists, famous, like Marie Curie, that have changed how we think about the world. But we’re still not a gender invisible world – it’s about opportunity, not outcome. We want to give everyone the chance to succeed, but it doesn’t mean that we treat everyone alike.

Girls will have to deal with their body image, boys will have to deal with their self image. I titled this ‘Gender and James Bond’ to give an open thought. Women have their heroes, men have theirs. James Bond is a prototypical male hero. Is he what it is boys want to emulate? Gender differences must be respected. But I still want to see the girls in my classroom want to be video game engineers, or the boys be elementary school teachers.

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Pros of the Pros

Professionalism is easy to distinguish in some careers – by their dress, their voice, their standards. I’ve had as many types of teachers as I’ve had teachers. The different doctors I’ve seen over the years have been very similar in demeanor (even in Korea, though that’s another story of the circumstances of needing to see a doctor). Given the achievements of the Korean students, I expected a certain professionalism among their teachers I saw in, well, other professions. What I saw, though, was not unlike teachers in America. One teacher was highly focused on rigid memorization. Another used games constantly while another used role play. One teacher used projects, another used discipline. The results varied as widely as the teachers – certain students would react better to a certain method (I’ll have to explore this in a whole other post). The problem lands on the students, as the teacher’s have their own preferences. Yes, all the teachers (in Korea or otherwise) get their bachelors, masters or beyond, but when they’re in the classroom they react as how they always would.

 

Since people are different, they’ll treat children differently based on their own preferences, culture or otherwise. Some children will be taught, some will learn science, some will learn history, but something or someone is always left behind (this isn’t about that other ‘left behind’ act). As in other professions, teachers have to work together to ensure methods and standards in the role of being a teacher. It shouldn’t be left up to the district, or people who never were teachers, but teachers themselves setting the standard and controlling the standard. It’ll start small, but it’ll grow. I hope it includes tweed jackets.

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Being the minority

Being white and trying to reflect upon what it means to be someone of less privilege is difficult. It’s difficult not like a particularly difficult math problem, but difficult in that I can never personally see through the eyes of one less privileged. I, being male, white, and have been raised not in poverty, but in an affluent city with all my basic necessities taken care of, have little in my history to know what it’s like to truly be poor, prejudiced, or worse. I can read all the books, see all the films, listen to the music, and experience the culture. It’s still not the same. I do, however, need to evaluate myself.
I spent time in Korea, where I was the minority. The difference between being a minority in the States and being a (white) minority in Korea was that in Korea I wasn’t treated poorly, I was treated much better. I was treated better than I was when I had lived in the states. I was gawked at (being peculiar in skin color and height), but more than that, I was treated as celebrity, a peculiar outsider. I grew close to my fellow Korean (and other expat) teachers, and was part of a teacher community. I too, grew as a person and as a teacher. It was a unique experience, one that will help me in many ways, but I still need to understand the dynamics of what it means to be a teacher in a diverse classroom.

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a path to teach

A way in pictures, not mine, but reflection of a journey.

The Slide Show

a note about the title

I will admit, I stole the title (nearly) from one of my favorite authors. If you get the chance, read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. And then, go ahead and read all of his other works.

I thought this would be a good way to start. I’m learning to be a teacher. I’ll be updating throughout the process, and beyond.

 

This is just a start. A beginning.