Secret Teacher: I’m tired of my colleagues’ ignorance about race

Dec 4, 2016 by

Teachers should address injustice, but some I work with fail to recognise issues of diversity and cultural stereotyping

“I’m sorry Miss, I don’t understand what you’re saying. You look like you speak Spanish or something.” He was in year 2, and had a smile that stretched from ear to ear. I had told him I was his supply teacher for the day. When I repeated what I said, he put his fingers in his ears and shouted: “I don’t understand your language!”

As a woman of colour, situations like this happen to me all too often. I don’t know whether it stems from ignorance or narratives the children are hearing at home, but it highlights the inadequacies of the school system in addressing race and diversity.

In the aftermath of the EU referendum and the US presidential election, staff at the schools I work at were heartbroken. As I listened to them discuss their disappointment and fears for the future, the common question seemed to be: “When did society become so racist?”

For me, the answer was another question: when hasn’t it been? In their shock at the result, they failed to realise how integral their insensitivity is to the problem.

Source: Secret Teacher: I’m tired of my colleagues’ ignorance about race | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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