SOL day 7Situation: I work at a children’s center and the group went to play sports this week with the college club sports members. During the volleyball portion, one of the balls rolled into a corner and a boy went to get it. He called me over to help because there was a big bug next to the ball.I was shocked by his reaction because he seemed like someone who wouldn’t mind about bugs. I realized afterwards that I had gender stereotyped him – I assumed that because he acted tougher and played rough games that he would be fine with insects. This has been something that my graduate program focuses on because they want us to be aware of our cultural biases. I am trying very hard not to make assumptions, but in our society, it is difficult. I am glad that it came to my attention though with this particular scenario. As a teacher, it is important to keep all your students equal in your mind and not have stereotypes towards them.
Yesterday, my teacher ended the class by reading us “The Animal School” and reciting the quote (both pasted below). The basis of the story is that the creatures decide to make a school, which needs a curriculum (running, swimming, climbing, and flying). The animals are judged on their success in all subjects. It describes the situations of the duck, squirrel, bear, and bee who are forced to look down upon themselves because they can’t achieve in all subjects. The bee and bear in particular are judged for their differences and called “not normal” or “lazy.” The Albert Einstein quote is pretty similar to the story because fish are good at swimming and cannot climb trees, but it doesn’t make them failures.
These made me think about how curriculum can force children to dislike learning because they must give up the thing they enjoy in order to work on the subjects in which they do not succeed. Teachers have difficulty in schools today not focusing on getting the grades up and “practice, practice, practice.” However, it is still important to reward children for the things they are good at and what makes them unique 🙂 This story also brought up stereotypes about different people’s cultures, like the bear who hibernates during winter being called lazy, because the principal didn’t understand that it was necessary for the bear to fully be himself. It is important for children to feel comfortable knowing that mistakes are okay and that they all have different talents. I want to tell this story near the beginning of the school year with my students to get them pondering about how special they are and not worry if they can’t be good at everything.