Sunday, February 24, 2013

Talking Points #3 August

In safe spaces by Gerri August, August argues that the LGBT students (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender identities) are not properly accounted for in the classroom and teachers often, and a lot of the times unknowingly, offend and make the LGBT students feel alienated and invisible. August says that “We adult’s need to pay attention because the stakes are high; these moment’s shape attitudes and ideologies have physical and psychological consequences- particularly for LGBT youth.” In essence by this he means that we as educators and adults need to educate ourselves deeper in regards to sexual orientation tolerance and awareness so that we do not inadvertently offend our students who may not meet our typical heterosexism template.
My opinion of this piece is that it has the right idea. I personally believe that in regards to LGBT students a neutral acceptance policy should be taken. I as a teacher accept you and your family’s sexual orientation and gender identity but I do not have to go out of my way to bring it up in discussion or promote it. Also I believe that as a teacher I am obligated not only professionally but also morally to defend you if you fall under verbal or even physical attack due to you or your family’s sexual orientation or gender identity. I agree with a lot of August’s points on this matter, however I believe some of the examples used cannot be included because the offenses displayed were not intended to be of harm and honestly the offenses seem a bit mild and not worthy of mention. An example of this is the story of Erica the transgender student who was asked to stand to stand up if you identified yourself as a boy or a girl in the classroom. As much as I wish that Erica was not offended I am sorry but this could not have been avoided. The world officially recognizes two genders, male and female. I wish I could ask Erica if she would want the teacher to say “if you a transgender please stand up.” I would find her response very interesting. Even if she responded to my question with “yes” I would have to ask how she expected the teacher to do so? Is the teacher supposed to automatically know that there is a transgender student in the classroom? Is the teacher supposed to assume that asking such a question will not upset anyone? It is a very touchy subject that I believe, as does August, that it is an ongoing and complex issue.
What is your opinion? Do you think the teacher can be held accountable for this?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Talking Points #2 Rodriguez "Aria"

I personally cannot relate to this article because English my primary and sole language that I am fluent in. I can speak a little Italian and a little Russian but I cannot speak it fluently and do not claim to. So the idea of going to school and feeling uncomfortable because I can speak another language is foreign to me. Rodriguez says that “Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease.  But I would have delayed-for how long postponed?-having to learn the language of public society.” This statement stands out to me because it makes a very important point about our society. Even though English is not the official language of the United States (there is no official language for the United States) it is the most commonly used language in the country and in a sense is the language of the land. If you want to be able to function in our society you must be able to communicate effectively with the other members of society. Therefore why should teachers and administration speak to you in any other language than English, it would be going against their job description. A teacher’s job is to educate you and give you the tools needed to function effectively in our society. That requires you to be able to speak English fluently so that you are able to communicate with your peers quickly and efficiently. He also says that “Today I hear bilingual educators say that children lose a degree of individuality by becoming assimilated into public society”, In my opinion this statement is worded incorrectly. The teachers should be saying that children are losing a “skill” by becoming completely assimilated into public society. Being able to speak another language as a “secondary language” is a very useful skill to have once you enter to mainstream working world. It can open doors to jobs you could not otherwise obtain if you did not speak another language.

English and the Global Citizen Video 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I found Kozol’s piece to be very interesting and really pulled at my heart strings. He seems to be arguing that the children of the South Bronx grow up in a lifestyle that breeds despair, hatred, and a sense that the rest of the world is out to get them. He says “What is it like for children to grow up here? What do they think the world has done to them? Do they believe that they are being shunned or hidden by society? If so, do they think that they deserve this? What is it that enables some of them to pray? When they pray. What do they say to God?” As I read more and more into his piece I can see how they would think the world is out to get them. The people from better walks of society come to their neighborhood and dump their unwanted possessions and trash on the sidewalk in front of the kid’s homes. I personally would take offense to that. Kozol even asks Cliffie’s mother if she took offense to this and she said she used to get offended but “Actually, I've got quite a few nice things that way. Not long ago, somebody dumped a pile of chairs and tables in the street.  Brand-new.  I was offended but I was also blessed. I took two chairs.” I really started to feel something for the children of the Bronx after reading the last few paragraphs of Kozol’s piece in which he recalls his conversation with David in regards to his mother and getting medical treatment. This quote should sum up what point Kozol is trying to make. "I don't think my mother's asking for something she does not deserve.  She worked hard all her life.  She’s a nicer person than a lot of the rich people I notice on TV. She gives more of herself to other people. My mother means a great deal to me. I don't know what I'll do after she's gone.” This quote puts you in a position where you think of how you would feel if you were one of these children with a mother who is dying.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation