Human Relations By: Shane majerus

I believe as a Multicultural Educator that it's my job to promote fairness and equality in my classroom. I will as a teacher encourage my students to see my lessons threw different perspectives and from and will plan lessons that are fair to all races and ethnicities. My classroom will be welcoming to any and all different races, ethnic groups, and religions. As a History Teacher especially, I will have to focus on not just the United States history, but also that other other countries and represent it as equal importance. This class has helped me relate to other areas of teaching and has broadened my educational horizon!
Before taking this class I believed that my soul purpose was to be a coach and then teach as a side job. Now I can understand that teaching is much more important and it is by far a full time job. Teaching is more than assigning work and grading, I need to be able to relate to my students and see things threw their eyes. So much of my job will be studying my own students and this class has helped me realize that.

There are many new ideas and concepts that I have learned this semester that has helped change my persecution of education, the most important and influential ones are:

Cultural Relativism which is something that is only relevant to a persons culture. One persons beliefs and customs would be affected based on their culture. Without taking this into perspective I as a teacher could become complacent and would not be able to connect to them.

Dominant Culture- the dominant culture in a classroom can be a very real and scary factor. This is when one culture presents itself more than another's. This can create groups and separate a class, which in turn can cause conflict which is not a healthy learning environment. In class we discussed how to possibly handle a situation and tips on exposing all cultures that are relavant to all the students.

Enculturation- I feel is one of the most important aspects that needs to be prompted in any classroom. This is when a persons learns the cultural traits that are in a situational environment and admits to them in the environment. If a teacher has a strong guideline and expectations in the class and the students listen, then that teacher can have the same expectations for each student. This can destroy the power of the dominant cultural and Promote equality.

Acculturation- which, simply put, is the changing of one persons cultural into the expected culture of a different group. The reason why this has changed my thinking process of teaching is because i simply never thought of it. I never thought that I would ask so much of my students, but from the moment they step through that door I magically ask them to change who they are for fifty minute of their life? That's a lot to ask of a child or teenager. I had this image in my head, like most young educators, of teacher gave a quiet class where everyone knows MY rules and follows them. Reality is that not one kid is the same as the other and the different backgrounds from each student will affect how they act in my classroom. To ask them to change or to embrace acculturation for my class is huge and I must first know my students if I am ever going to be able to get through to them.

Ebonics is an interesting topic. I never thought of it as a second language but was under the same inclusions as those around me in my household. I thought Ebonics was for the illiterate and undereducated people who gave up on proper grammar. Never before did I think that this is a complex style of talking and expressing how someone feels. This might of been one of the most eye opening topics because I had to step back from my of prejudice and really think about it from a different point of view.

Nonverbal communication was an overall topic in chapter seven but I feel like I learned quite a bit not only from this class, but also my field exercise as well. Again I was under the Illusion of a perfect class where I would be seen as equal to my students. When really just dressing up and being older than my students can be intimidating to them. Everything that I do physically will be judged, my hand movements, my poster, eye contact and more are evaluated every time I speak to my class. This is just as powerful as verbal communication and cannot be overlooked!

Another topic that we discussed was that of Stereotypes. I never was exposed to much different stereotypes in the community I grew up in. I lived in a small farm town and everyone pretty much looked the same. We had stereotypes but I feel that as a person matures then they should be able to prove or disprove certain aspects that were given to stereotypes. This will be very powerful in the classroom because I will have many students who will have different stereotypes and I may not be able to disprove them all and still cover my topic.

Discrimination , as discussed in class, is the action taken due to a certain stereotype. This can not be tolerated in the classroom and again I was exposed very little to this in my own schooling. I feel like this was a very influential for me because it exposed me to others situations and I do feel a lot more confident that If I were to go into a classroom that was acting on discrimination that I would be able to put it down and handle the situation.

One of my biggest weakness I feel that I will encounter in my classroom is that of a Prejudice towards certain students. I will, without trying to, automatically judge each of my students as they walk threw the door. It is simply a human reaction, but what I act upon is what this class has prepared me to do. I must try to understand each of my students and not have one opinion about a student for the whole year. I must give them the best possible chance to succeed and treat them the same as any other student.

Social Capital was something I found very interesting as well. this is because I myself have a good social capital and so does my family, this is directly related. Growing up in a middle class home I was able to make my own connections to people while also using my parent's resources as well. This could affect a child from a lower SES status because those who are considered poor typically have less social capital. Because of their less connection it would be harder to get jobs, hook ups, references and goes back to the repeating cycle of poverty.

This leads to the Cycle of Poverty. This is when a person who grows up in a poor family typically would stay poor. Social capital directs this when it comes to knowing the right people to get certain jobs. Another factor overlooked is what that parent provides to a student when they are of the age to get a job. Say a child comes from a rich family and is given a reliable car to drive to work and was taught proper ethics. Now picture the same kid without a car and not knowing what to do. The richer kid would probably get hire and repeat the cycle of poverty.

School Funding can actually be affected by their own cycle of poverty. This is in a slightly different stance but the moral stays the same. If a school gets less funding due to the less property tax, then that school can't afford better resources. The lack of resources usually causes a student to not test as well due to the lack of funding for the school. So that should mean the funding should be shared because of equity and not some much equality.

Of all the thigs covered through this entire course, there is one critical concept that has affected me the most and is an idea that I have always been aware off. Privilege is such a powerful aspect of life and it is one that is very often overlooked. Someone who comes from a lower SES will not be able to have the same resources as that of a student from a wealthy family. I do like to look back on my privileges and be thankful for them, however I very seldom look to others and try to understand theirs. As a teacher this is a MUST DO! I will have to consider every assignment and project and make sure it is fair to do for all my students up and down the economic ladder. If I fail to do this then I could discourage a student from ever succeeding. This is very powerful and can affect a child's life in a large way.

Above is a photo of my High School. This is where a lot of who I am was created. This is where stereotypes are exposed and prejudice gets reinforced. I grew up in a small community and I have minimal experience to diversity. However, coming to Graceland and being exposed to a completely different environment has prepared me in a substantial way for being a teacher. I honestly feel like, after graduating, that I will be able to tackle the world and teach students in almost any region of the United States. I have had previous prejudice like those students in band are smart and those in sports are not, however after being a part of both I understand this is not a fact. I came from a lower middle class and will be able to relate to those in the poorer end of the spectrum and those of the middle class. However, I know I will struggle teaching those of wealth and this will have to be worked on.

I accept the fact that I will never have all the answers. There will always come a day where a tough decision will present itself and I may not have the perfect answer. I will always have questions over different cultures beliefs and I may not every fully understand it. However, I know that I will strive to be as prepared as possible to treat anyone, students or not, as equal as possible and I will take others opinions into consideration. I will as a Multicultural Educator promote fairness in my classroom, now you know more about myself, my beliefs, and where I stand. The only step left is to get out there and make a difference in this world like all teachers have done before me!

1) Some of my thoughts have changed from the first semester, and have transitioned well into my second semester. The first semester was about learning the nomenclature and figuring out what we believed in as future educators. The second semester was to inform us what we might see in the classroom and the problems/conflict that may occur. By understanding the language and predicting where it might lead, I will be able to see my student's perspective clearer and be able to assist in a conflict. The role of a teacher is not just to teach, but to be there for the support of our students. It is our job to understand each and every one of them and push them to succeed not in just the classroom, but in life.

Racism is a very big problem in the school districts in America. Kids are bullied and discriminated against because of the color of their skin. This creates a hostile environment in some schools and some students may not feel safe when attending class. If there is one thing I learned in this class is that nobody can learn if they are scared. This may actually feed the stereotype that some people have of people of color. Some think that if a person isn't white, then they are stupid. When in reality that student of color might be scared of being bullied and therefor doesn't learn.

Privilege is something that I, personally, take to heart. I grew up with divorced parents and saw two sides to privilege. There is racial privilege, and economical privilege. Racial privilege is walking into a classroom and being able to see yourself reflected in the coursework. this privilege is usually not present for those students of color. Economical privilege would be the money in which a school is provided, or a student is provided. If a student or a school district is poor, then so are its resources. A student in a middle class school district might have laptops and new technology to use, while a student in a lower class might be forced to stay with old textbooks. The opportunity for success is much higher for those who can afford it.

The power of race and the problems with privilege can lead to something called Prejudice. This is when you come to a conclusion about someone, or some group, and judge them without any evidence. If a student struggles in class is it because of their race, region, SES status, mental problems, or just the teacher not explaining it? It is common to not want to be prejudice, but some ideas are embedded in your head since the day we were born. Also not being exposed to diversity can change how you think of someone you do not look like. One of the worst factors is social media. In a lot of movies and T.V series the good guy is a white male, and the bad guy is a male of a minority. This can create strong prejudice in the classroom because a lot of kids look up to their favorite movie stars and be just like them.

Secular Humanism is a very new term to me. It is the belief that someone does not have to be religious in order to have good morals. in fact, it says that a person can be good without the use of a religion. They do not believe in a higher power but is different from atheism because it is more of a life stance rather than the pure denial of a god. Most of the Humanistic people attempt to spread their beliefs to children at a young age, and as a teacher I must be aware of my environment and any forces that could affect my classroom. If teaching about any religion, I must be careful not to preach it but teach it. Many people from any religion could get frustrated and parents would call in and cause conflict.

This relates to the 1st amendment. Just because there is a freedom of religion does not mean that I can promote my religion in the classroom. However, much I’d like to I cannot strongly represent my faith. I have to right to believe in what I want, but so do my students and I need to have an environment that allows them to feel comfortable in. It would also be wise to get to know my students and the town of which I would work in and find the common religions. This could help me as an educator to get to know the community and know some of the history of the religions that my students take part in. If a student wishes to pray I will not prevent them, if they have to be excused I will work with them and will always look at what’s best for that student!

Religious Pluralism is something that I personally can relate to. I am a protestant christen, however I fully respect the fact that there are many religions out there and who’s to say mine is the one true faith? I do believe that other religions can also be correct and that is the idea of religious pluralism. They believe in a higher power but do not have an exact name for it. They believe in the morals of religion and try to do right by the world. This promotes a form of equality which is important to have in the classroom. Although you cannot make someone believe in numerous religions it is different and therefore should be acknowledged by the teacher.

Being a teacher, especially in high school, I must be able to anticipate the difference in development from girls and from boys. Boys and girls develop in different ways and a teacher has to be able to use different tactics to connect to both. If a boy never sees his personal interests in reading material, then he may not read it. Whereas if a girl does not like readying about the graphics of war, then she may not learn it. A good teacher would find reading material and lesson plans that can attract all of the students and promote learning equality in the classroom.

Girls are more likely to pass high school and earn a master's degree. Whereas boys are more likely to have to restart kindergarten but are also receive more PhD's. More boys are also suspended in school and diagnosed with learning disabilities. As a teacher this is very important because if a male student is unmotivated it may be because of his past family experiences. If his dad, brother, uncle or whoever doesn't go on to college because of the stigma, then he may not care to try in school. Another angle to look at is if a female in your class is pressured from her female role models than she might be to stressed and afraid to fail.

During a class a student might need to get up and move around. Why? Is that student trying to be a distraction or does that student need to move around? It is proven that boys, typically younger, need movement and activity to stay focused. Boys are right hemisphere dominant and girls are left hemisphere dominant. Girls typically excel in relationships with each other and their fine motor skill develops much faster. If a teacher does not take this into consideration than they could have a class of tempered young mean and think that the boys are illiterate due to their bad handwriting.

Masculinity and femininity standards are very influential in schools. Guys are supposed to be big and strong. Girls are supposed to be small and fragile and smart. These "standards" lead to a lot of bullying and harassment if a person doesn't reach the status quo. These standard set unrealistic expectations for kids and dramatically increases the stress on students. If a student is so focused on what they think society wants from them then they may not be focused on education and can affect them very much in the classroom.

Sexism is something I hope I will never encounter in the classroom but I am afraid it’s becoming more popular. Sexism is discrimination or prejudice of a sex, typically women, and the belief in a superior gender. If this is present in a classroom, then conflict will arise and bullying will happen. Students will feel marginalized and be consider less than another student. Sexism can destroy equality and as a teacher I will have to be very cautious of it and shut it down immediately.

The Glass Ceiling is a term used to describe the maximum success level someone should achieve. This too is often directed towards woman. If a girl is in my class and isn’t trying to succeed it is my job to figure out if she isn’t trying on purpose, isn’t understanding it, or is maybe not expected to do much with her life and is then un-motivated.

Sexual Orientation-

Of all the terms explained above, the one that I found most valuable to me and my future of being a teacher is the gender identity. This is becoming more and more common in schools and is currently a raging issue. People are raising concern about gender neutral bathrooms and some students are being marginalized. There are many different definitions of genders. Many believe that there is more than two. If I believe this or not is irrelevant. As a teacher I need to be supporting and aware of anything that can cause a conflict in the classroom.

My own identity is very important when it comes to my future in education. I am a white, male, Protestant, straight, lower middle class person and that is absolutely vital to who I am. Those eight words make me very different than most of the world. It means I have different beliefs, experiences, goals, background, perspectives and much more. To say this won’t affect me as a teacher would be a lie. Honestly those eight characteristics are more important than my field of study. I do feel like I could manage in any type of educational environment, but I would know my strengths would be with my own experiences in a smaller town. With this experience I will, by nature, have certain bias traps that as an educator I need to be aware of and work on. One being that a rich student has everything and doesn't need to work in life because their parents will pay for them, or the opposite that a person who is poor needs all of my attention in the class. These are both not true and every student should have a equal chance to succeed. This will definitely be my biggest obstacle to overcome and work on. Part of me will not want to take extra time to teach a rich student because I will think they don't need it. To minimize my prejudice of rich students I will learn more about them and their family, and find out if they are being pressured, if they are understanding the content, am I connecting to them on a level that they understand.

How do I connect to the LGBT-O community better? What can I do to help my students who are poor in achieving? How can I relate to the students who are rich? What happens if a racial conflict breaks out in the class, do I teach them not too, if so how? All this questions have built up throughout this semester and I know when I start teaching that there will be more questions than answers. That is what will help me succeed because I will always be learning as long as I am teaching!

Before taking this class, I believed my job as a teacher was to only teach my students to the best of my ability. I didn't know much about the impact of race, religion, gender, SES, or their history. I know now that teaching is only half of it. I believe that as a teacher it is my job to be a role model and an emotional supporter for each and every one of my students. I will need to learn from them maybe even more than they learn from me. Each year will bring new and interesting students which leads to new and interesting challenges.

Credits:

Created with images by Stefan Baudy - "Question!" • mrsdkrebs - "2012-240 #6WordMission"

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