In education, we hear a lot of buzz words. An important one is diversity. While cultural diversity is the one a lot of people (including myself) think of first, I think an up-and-coming type of diversity is regarding sexuality and sexual preference.
I came across a channel on YouTube made by a transgender female (who was born a male) who posts videos about her transition and daily life. I found her videos about transgender people fascinating and eye-opening because I have personally never met someone who is transgender. After watching a couple of her videos, I feel like I now do!
Seeing these videos was a huge epiphany for me because we tend to judge others when we don’t know anything about them. People who are different make us uncomfortable, but at the root of it all, we are all human beings who want to be loved and happy.
These videos have really inspired me to step back and think about my views on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. As a future teacher, I will have to be fully accepting of every single student I encounter and I feel like these videos have allowed me to come one step closer to achieving an open mind towards all types of diversity that I previously was unsure or unaware of.
I find this extremely relevant because my ECS 100 lecture today was centred around diversity and inclusion. Too many times, teachers mistake diversity of their students for cultural diversity. However, diversity is every aspect of a child that makes them who they are. Their culture plays a significant role, certainly, but it also includes their religion, socio-economic status, home situation and family life, sexual orientation, abilities, interests and personality (among others).
The first step in embracing diversity in my future classroom will be to get to know my students and help to strengthen their talents and work towards improving their weaknesses. I want to foster an attitude for ALL of my students in which differences are okay, encouraged and even celebrated!
My topic exploration paper for this class was also about diversity, more specifically that of culture, but it also touched on diversity in learning styles and personal strengths. The articles I read allowed me to realize that as a white-privileged citizen, I can never truly understand the hardships that students from minorities encounter.However, it is my responsibility to ensure that my classroom is a discrimination-free zone and it brought to light attitudes that I didn’t even know I had.
Pre-service teachers often view the cultural minorities, or children with disabilities, or any type of ‘other’ student with pity or sympathy. However, these attitudes do not help to change the situation. Children who are different do not need sympathy, which gives them the idea that their difference makes them hard done by. Instead, teachers should view diversity with an open mind and think of it as an opportunity for enrichment, not a hindrance or obstacle. The misconception that “all students should be treated the same” is addressed in my personal Educational Philosophy because it denies differences. Students should be equals, but not treated or taught in the same manner. This is denying specific needs of your individualized students that are a teacher’s responsibility to meet.
I am excited to be learning so much about diversity. Coming from a small town, diversity wasn’t overly present. As a pre-service teacher, I am ecstatic about the chance to work with students that possess all types of diversity (because as my story about the YouTube video in the beginning of this post shows, there are so many amazing qualities that diverse people have which I am unaware of because my view is clouded by lack of education. A unique individual isn’t recognized for their personality or strengths because it is all overshadowed by the label they carry)! I hope to continue breaking down the views I didn’t even realize I had so that when I step into my own classroom, I can handle diversity with care and acceptance.