I am white. I am female. I am Catholic. I am a “good” teacher. I am also so much more.
I can’t help but believe that there will always be underlying implications and messages that tag along with the lessons that we teach and the outcomes that we strive to meet. I know that no matter how aware that we think we are and no matter how anti-bias we intend to be, there will always be traces of these underlying messages left behind.
Through our lessons, we transmit the norms of the society that we live in, the values and the beliefs. We unconsciously assume that the norms, values and believes that we hold and that the society and curriculum creators hold is universal to our area. This assumption conveys through our teachings and makes students outside of the norm feel oppressed and unrecognized within the system.
As an educator, I believe that it is both my duty and obligation to address the hidden curriculum and shine some light on it as best I can. I aim to bring forth and educate my students on topics such as white privilege, equity, diversity, gender, sexual orientation, family structures and so forth.
As Kumashiro states, we must examine both our lessons and our lenses so that we can become more aware of the hidden implications and so we can alter our lessons to either veer away from the implications or shine light on them and use them as central ideas.
I intend to be most mindful of the idea that I could easily fall prey to the ideal of the white savior. By appearance, religion, and culture alone, I resemble the traditional ideals of the “good” teacher. I fear for the possibility of being viewed in this way. I so badly want to rise above this commonsensical view of the teacher and shatter the image. To rise above the occasion and become so much more than that.
Although Freedom Writers has had some critique due to the teacher figure being the “white saviour” model but I do believe that she still held many of the values that we need to acknowledge. She taught her students to fight oppression and stand up for their beliefs and values.