It amazes me that racism still exists. People still treat someone differently because of the colour of their skin. The values lecture we had about racism was shocking and unsettling.
I think it’s so important that we remember the past to ensure we don’t repeat our mistakes but that also brings around the argument that we go around in circle and are fated to make the same mistakes. We need to be aware of what’s going on around us and stand up if we witness injustice happening. If we stay silent and continue to let it happen then we will make the same mistakes. I find it difficult as someone who is middle classed and white to fully understand the extent to which racism exists. That doesn’t mean that I can sit and watch it happen it’s all about action. It’s amazing how Widley accepted racism was, a campaign slogan used by the conservative party in 1964, and used by the MP Peter Griffiths, using racist language was allowed. If we look at America and back to the time when segregation was happening. Whites and blacks were given ‘equal’ rights but didn’t mix. The case of Emmett Till, an African American teenager who lived in Chicago. He went to visit family in Mississippi in 1955. He went to the shops where the shop worker accused him or whistling at her and touching her hand. That night the woman’s husband and brother grabbed Emmett out his home where they beat, mutilated and shot him before dumping him in the river. The two men got away with the murder, and we also found out that the woman in the shop had lied and Emmett did not whistle at her or touch her hand. Emmett Till became a huge part of the American civil rights movement and he is still remembered today. What I find shocking is that this only happened 73 years ago, that is no time at all. We have to continue to remember people like Emmett Till and stop racism.
Our lecture was not just about racism either, we touched on homophobia and islamophobia. We touched on all form of inequality and injustice. What was interesting was when we discussed the way homosexual people were portrayed on television in the 70’s and 80’s, this can give us some background and understanding on other views. Even some of the language used in these programmes are now things that are completely unacceptable. Language is something that is constantly changing an updating, so we need to keep up to ensure we don’t let outdated words slip through the net and become the accepted norm. With things like gay pride and the LGBTQ+ community we are slowly fighting the homophobes, but the hatred still exists. We need to continue to work against people who promote outdated and hurtful views.
Islamophobia is something that has become more and more evident in the last 20 years. A hatred towards Islam and Muslims. Some people hold the belief that Muslims are funding terrorism and are also behind all terrorist activity. This belief causes a whole population to be tarred with the same brush, which is completely unacceptable. This belief from people also brought about the idea that Muslim ladies should not be allowed to wear a hijab or a burka and in turn anyone wearing these would be branded as a terrorist. Some European countries have brought about laws forbidding women to wear scarves that cover the face. This belief is baffling because the people that hold these views don’t think that nuns shouldn’t wear their robes or habit and if they did they wouldn’t be called terrorists.
People have become a lot braver about what they say and are happy to express their view over social media, things that they would never say in person. Social media allows people to have an outlet with little to no consequences. When we see racism, sexism and homophobia on social media we laugh it off, it’s a joke it’s not hurting anyone. Except it is. There are real people behind these profiles and they comments people make on twitter, Facebook and Instagram need to be properly recognised for what they are and removed. The people who make these comments need to be punished for their actions online, the same as they would if they made the comments openly in public.
We all need to be more aware of what is going on, stand up if we see something we disagree with happening. Racism, homophobia, islamophobia and many others have no place in this world, all they do is promote fear and hatred. They do not benefit us and should not be allowed to continue.
The values workshop taught me how your mood and behaviour can negatively or positively impact children, their behaviour and learning.
The activity we done consisted of us being split into four groups and being given a pack of resources. We each received a different amount of resources and were all treated differently. Group one received the most resources and a ‘teacher’ with a positive and friendly attitude. Group two received slightly less resources and were treated slightly worse and so on until you got to group four who received very little resources and were treated very unfairly by the teacher.
I was in group four for this activity and we could tell immediately that we were being alienated by the teacher; firstly, because we had much less to work with than the other three groups and because the teacher was very hostile, uninterested and at some points rude towards us. Ths then caused us to become uninterested in the task that he had set us, and we began turning it into a joke. We noticed the praise he was giving other groups and continued to ignore us or say negative comments toward out work. We became more and more hurt as the activity continued causing us to feel very demotivated and worthless.
It then came the time to present and the teacher was uninterested in out presentation, his body language conveyed this. He didn’t look at us while we presented, he was working on his laptop, he had his arms folded and he began talking to another member of the class as well. This was a stark contrast to group one who receive lots of praise and thumbs up. He was engaged in their presentation showing enthusiasm and encouragement throughout. He also gave them positive feedback at the end and scored them 8/10 while only giving us 2/10.
At the end when everyone had been made aware of what was going on it was interesting because one girl in my group asked the class if anyone had noticed that our group had been treated differently and the consensus was no. That shows me that this could have happened not just while I was at school but in everyday life; if you are in group one you aren’t going to notice the people in group four.
This activity really opened my eyes to how your attitude and behaviour as a teacher can change the way a child learns and the way they feel about themselves. Even us as adults pertly aware of what was going on still were left feeling demotivated and confused. This will make me more conscious of the way I behave in class, for everything from my tone of voice to my body language to the way I speak.
Why teaching? That’s what we have all been asking ourselves since day one. Walking into our fist lecture, looking anxiously around for a friendly face.
I believe that teaching offers diverse fun and amazing opportunities for growth and development in children. Teaching allows us to shape the future and leave a lasting impact.
I spend every free moment of my time working with children of all ages and abilities, whether that is with the young girls at Rainbows and Brownies or the children with disabilities at Muirfield Riding Therapy, I am always striving to better the life of children. This is why I know that teaching is the best thing for me to study at university. I have taken a few years out of my studies, I travelled to America to work at Camp Half Moon for two summers where I was a counsellor. Again this showed my commitment to children and their wellbeing.
Volunteering is definitely how I decided I wanted to be a teacher, it allowed me to work with children at all different levels and abilities. It showed me how easy children are to imprint with ideas and thoughts; the importance of what you say and how you act. Muirfield Riding Therapy in particular has always been close to my heart. I have volunteered there for six years and recently began my coaching qualification. It’s an incredible nationwide charity that offers hippotherapy to people of all ages with a wide range of disabilities. It is something I talk about often and I will never stop recruiting volunteers. Becoming a teacher will allow we to be an even better coach and likewise with teaching, being a coach will hopefully allow me to be a better teacher.
I hope my time at Dundee will allow me to grow into the teacher I have always aspired to be, the teacher that inspired me in school. I aim to be kind and compassionate, creative and fun, firm but fair; all the qualities that when tangled together make a teacher a teacher.