So what do you think your goal is as a professor now?
“I want my students to be self aware, to help them deconstruct what is going on in the world around them so they can be better citizens. I want them to be gritty, and I want them to tell the truth about what is really happening.”
Tonight I am working on a paper for my Educational Leadership class. I interviewed a dear colleague Henry Aronson. He was witty, passionate and honest in his responses about race, ethnicity and his views on the world. It is how we learn about each other, we ask questions, listen with the intent to understand, and then when we are truly lucky, we take the time to analyze how this conversation adds to or changes our view of the world.
This course looks at the concept of cultural proficiency as the basic tenet of American democracy. The focus is on educational settings, identifying and discussing issues of diversity within schools. How can we better understand each other? One of the assignments was to interview someone about their own experiences with differences in culture or race. I had such a great conversation about how we identify with each other, with cultural groups and how that impacts how we teach. Again, more brilliant words from my writing project colleague Henry when discussing his college classroom.
“I’m not here to fix something broken about them. I’m here to fix things about the way they were taught. I don’t think I could have done that if I hadn’t done it with my own bio-community. I don’t see my filipino students as broken. I didn’t see them as lacking. I saw them as their needs weren’t being met. And so as I translate that to my own work with my African American students, it carries over. I don’t see my black students as deficient, instead I ask what is deficient about the way we are teaching? What are we doing systemically that is not allowing them to rise to their potential? They need to meet their potential.
We can all learn by taking the time to have some in depth discussions. Being able to see the challenges and similarities in our classrooms, our lives. Thanks Henry for giving me so many wonderful things to contemplate.