Can’t believe the semester is over! With happiness, I am leaving my digital storytelling video here! You can click the link below to watch!
- How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
Throughout this semester, I was lucky enough to have a placement at Campus For All, which allowed me to meet my friend K who has intellectual disability, as well as requires a wheelchair. The past 20 hours with her was an absolute eye-opening moment for me because it made me realize that how little interaction I had with people with disabilities. Thinking back to my schooling, all of my schools had a different classroom for students with disabilities, so we were separated for the most of time. When I was in high school, me and my friends did not even know that our school had students with disabilities, until we accidentally passed by their classroom that was located in a different building where was the smallest and oldest building at the school. After discovering that, we were surprised, but did not question why they were in the different classroom. Because to us, it seemed natural to be separated. Eventually, this segregation created a huge distance between the two groups, as well as embedded many stereotypes against people with disabilities without even realizing it. Therefore, I believe that to unlearn these biases, we have to get to know those who are different from ourselves, like me in this semester. Working with K throughout this semester taught me that people with disabilities require some assistance or different approaches, they are all capable, hard workers, passionate and would like to achieve success in their lives as much as I do.
- Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
Growing up in Korea, especially in my city where lacks the diversity, often the ‘story’ was very one sided. It was particularly obvious to me because I sometimes felt being excluded from the mainstream discourse. When we were talking about family at school, it was assumed that all students were from a ‘normal’ family with a Korean father and a Korean mother, but I was not: My dad was Taiwanese and my mom was Korean, and I was not living with my parents back then because they often go to different countries to run their business, so my grandmother was the one who looked after me. Hence, I often got confused when the teacher said ‘get sign from your mom or dad’, or ‘let’s make a card for your mom for mother’s day’. I always hated the first week of semester too. We always had to introduce ourselves on the first day, and the class would always laugh at me if I say my name, because my last name was not a Korean last name, and usually this would last for a week or so. This memory really hurt me, so I changed my last name after my mother’s as soon as I passed the age of 18, and since then, I never had to explain about my name or my family. This teaches me that it is very essential to have a multiple stories in the classroom for our students so that no one feels marginalized, and we as educators can ensure that all students become able to understand and embrace the diversity.
3 things I learned:
- In today’s lecture, we talked about the school administrator, specifically about the principal/vice principal, and what makes an ‘effective’ principal. Hierarchically speaking, principal would be the head of the school. He/she is in charge of creating and sustaining effective and comfortable environment for students to learn, for teachers to teach, as well as for all admins and other staffs to work. I learned that there are several elements that determines what it means to be an ‘effective’ principal’, including establishing the vision, mission and culture of the school, having instructional leadership, being able to strategically allocate the resources, and engaging in planning, implementing, monitoring curriculum, instruction and improvement planning. Principal provides supportive environment for all school community members.
- Also, I learned that it is significant to build a strong relationship between the principal and the school community because it plays a key role for students in achieving success. The fact that principal knows his/her community well means that the school itself is able to understand the culture of the community, which would create a huge positive impact on each student’s learnings and lives at the school.
- Lastly, I learned that the role of principal is changing as multifaceted and complex role. Due to this, principals would need to be flexible, continuously set and adapt the goals as needed, while considering the needs of the school community.
- As start point, we had a turn and talk moment about any positive experiences we have had with/from principals/vice principals throughout our schooling years. People shared many great experiences/memories they have their principals, and all were described as ‘friendly’. Unfortunately, I have not had any vice/principals who was ‘friendly’ or ‘nice’ to the students. All I can remember from my experiences is that principals just staying in their office all the time, and only showing up when it’s a special occasion like a graduation. Actually, I didn’t know that a principal can be friendly and nice to the students because I have never had one. To me, the image of principal was always authoritative person who was busy with his/her office work and never smiled to anyone. Although being cold does not necessarily mean that he/she did not care about their students, I wish I had a warm principal because it would make a huge difference in my reminiscence of schools.
- Another connection I made this week was about how media portrays principals. In majority portrayals that I have seen, principals are viewed as the one disciplines students and values the rules. But, having a discussion about the positive experiences with principals in the class led me to connect with the last lecture’s topic, ‘teacher as identity’, and how it’s been affected by the media. In other words, disciplinarian principal is one of the ‘popular images’ of principals, which consists the principal identity. And as I said in the last lecture, having certain image of an individual creates certain expectation of that person that could bring either positive or negative results.
If you have a disagreement with your administrator that you strongly believe that your belief is right, how would you respond to this situation?