In the beginning of the semester, I remember looking at the course title and feeling compelled. I saw the word ‘multicultural’ and immediately and solely connecting it to race. I was ready for a space where we would tease out the complexities and nuances of race and its effect on the classroom. I had stories, issues, questions I was ready to address and found solace in all the people and institutions I was ready to implicate throughout the semester. My goal was to find answers in regards to my past experiences in the classroom as I searched for validation in my struggles with my opposing personal and academic senses of self. I was looking for the ‘recipe’ for multicultural education that I would be able to recite when necessary.
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This is my children's book, with the annotations to go with it. There are illustrations and it will make more sense when I bring in the illustrated printed version in class.
Professor Jody Cohen
Teaching a Unit on Second Wave Feminism to a Senior Seminar in a High School
The importance and necessity of Blackburn’s for transforming the classroom reaches beyond the LGBTQQ community into something larger. That is not to say that the LGBTQQ community’s struggles should be appropriated in the ed system, rather it means that much of the work Blackburn outlines has useful applications in education in general. The most concrete illustration of this is work that happens in The Attic and subsequently the work The Speaker’s Bureau group does by empowering youth through celebration of their identities and giving them voices in ways they don’t usually have in school. Because of the teacher’s often subversive role created by an already oppressive and homophobic education system, there is a need for teachers to speak out against homophobic behavior in the classroom.
Something that I appreciated in Molly Blackburn’s work, Interrupting Hate, was the reference to the idea of continual work involved in allyship. Blackburn states, “An ally must perform being an ally repeatedly, and what an ally performance looks like in one space…is different than it is in another” (p. 62) being an ally is not simply done once. There is a constant need to reevaluate, and connect when being an ally. It is an active position that calls for teachers and students to engage, listen, reflect, educate, and act with fluidity understanding the importance of context and the merit and personal specificity in regards to the environments both inside and outside the classroom and its connection to literature.
I really appreciated Blackburns's emphasis on teaching to become an ally. It is all too often in schools that we are taught what not to do intstead of what to do. Often times people learn about the histories and meanings behind certain words and actions after they have used them. Standing up to someone who uses derrogative terminology or who acts homophobic is often hard for people to do and doesn't happen enough. Additionally, correcting someone and trying to teach him/her often comes off as an attack, leading that person to become defensive and not listen and learn. Most high schools have a bullying segment of the curriculum or different bullying workshops. Why not teach about being an ally then?
While reading Keenan I was struck by the dedication she showed to her students. Stating the importance of carving out that time every day for Morning Meeting, and putting so much time into creating a Wiki space, and trying to raise funding for computers. I actually went and checked out her page on Donors Choose. (http://www.donorschoose.org/ms.keenan?historical=true) on which she has completed 65 projects for her classroom, which include everything from Chrome Books to a cozy reading corner to white boards for the students. On her page she has a small blurb stating "My classroom is an exciting, warm and welcoming place to learn.