Monday, February 25, 2013


Safe Spaces
By: Gerri August

This article suggests some vital points in my opinion. The concept of teaching children that they should accept all types of people is a crucial part to development. This issue goes beyond that, however. August suggests that parents, educators, media, etc. as a society need to promote equality of ALL people, which includes the verbal and non verbal message we send our children. He says its more than not using the words "gay" or "fag", we must allow children to have their own concept of families and other situations without imposing our beliefs on them. For example, not all children have a mommy and a daddy at home, some only have one parent, some have two mommies/daddies, and children should be  in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable whatever their personal situation is. This stretches throughout all grade levels as well. Making students feel as though they are safe and accepted regardless of their own situation or sexual preference should be a goal of every parent and educator.

Unfortunately, this is not the case today. Bullying of LGBTQ is a huge problem and has lead to suicide of LGBTQ youth increasing.
This article touches on the issue of bullying being directly related to the suicide rate and tells the story of Jamey Rodemeyer. Jamey was 14 years old when he took his own life. He was struggling with his sexuality and getting bullied immensely at school. How is it that we allow schools to be environments where this kind of bullying can take place?

School is not the only place kids see or experience bullying towards LGBTQ people. Our society casts a shadow over this issue, which goes back to S standing for Straightness, and that being a privilege. The media plays a big role in this as well. Everyone is inundated by messages from the media and many are not positive, which has a tragic effect on youth especially. Many people have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, and their highly publicized protests. Just the name of their URL tells a lot about what they stand for, If the URL doesn't tell you enough exploring the site for even one minute will tell you what you need to know.
It is obvious that this group of people is anti-gay, but what is worse is that their protests have been featured on news stations nation wide multiple times. We should be exposing children to different life situations, like August says, not the hatred of extremist protestors. If we could teach our students that there is not one right way then there could be more wide spread acceptance.

 Due to the increase of youth suicides there are an increasing number of resources available to kids who may think the only solution is taking their life. Such as a website called PostSecret, where anyone can send in a postcard anonymously with a secret on it. This is not exclusive to LGBTQ people but is open to anyone who has a secret the need to tell.
Another helpful outlet from the media has been the "It gets better" campaign started by Dan Savage. A video project with an overall message that although times can get tough and even if you are being bullied, life gets bullied. Anyone is encouraged to submit a video and the project has gotten a lot of celebrity attention. President Obama has even made a video encouraging people that it will get better.

Questions/Points to Share:
Although these projects are great, is it enough to have a few internet campaigns? Or do we need to attack the problem more aggressively? I feel as though this message of acceptance needs to come across all fronts, form teachers, parents, the media, and peers, for society to change so that students feel safe no matter what their family situation or sexual orientation is.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


By: Richard Rodriguez

This is me and Allison, a student I tutored for
a year and a half at
Reservoir Ave Elementary school. 
            As soon as a read this piece I thought of my Student Learning Placement and the tutoring I have done before in the Providence School System. I starting getting involved volunteering in Providence Schools when I was a freshman in High School. I grew up and went to school in North Kingstown, RI. In case you are not familiar with North Kingstown, the High School I attended consisted of about 1,700 students, of those students I could probably count on 2 hands the number of students who were not white. So when I was first in the Providence school system, I was a bit surprised to say the least. An overwhelming majority of the students did not speak English at home and English was not their first language.
This is true in my Service Learning Placement at Asa Messer as well. I am in an ESL first grade classroom there. Surprisingly, most of the students spoke English in their classroom and I had no problem speaking to any of the students. However the cultural differences were brought to my attention in a different way. Upon entering the classroom the teacher had to run out to show another volunteer to their classroom, and I was alone with 28 first graders eager to ask me questions. I was a little nervous, but welcomed the opportunity. I called on one little girl, who did not have a question but rather a comment, she said to me, “Your skin is the same color as hers!” and as she said it she pointed to the only other white girl in the room. I told the student she was correct and started answering more questions and was trying to keep the students I had just met from getting too rowdy. But I was doing that, I looked across the classroom of kids, that student was right, including me there were 3 white people in the classroom, one little girl and one little boy. I was in the minority. As I worked with a total of 6 students in small groups when I was there I noticed both the differences and similarities between this first grade class and my own first grade class. Although there were many significant differences, the language, the number of students in the classroom, and the teaching styles being some of them, I realized something more important. That these students did not need different things than I did in the first grade, they just need to be taught the same things in a different way. Like Rodriguez says in this piece, “Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid.”  When I entered my classes all throughout school I was always addressed by the correct name, with the correct pronunciation, the way I was addressed at home. I never was afraid or had to worry, and was always made to feel comfortable. 
Share with the class:
Something that I want to remember and keep with me for tutoring, service learning, and teaching someday is to remember to accommodate all students and make them feel comfortable with learning. That can be as simple as learning a  to pronounce a child’s name correctly, like Dr. Bogad made sure of with us, because that can make all the difference.

Monday, February 11, 2013

White Privilege -QUOTES-

White Privilege; Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
By: Peggy McIntosh

“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”

I think this is a very important point made by McIntosh, which is why I think she introduces the piece with this quote. For me this quote is incredibly relatable and hits home. I was born and raised in a middle-upper class, mainly white community, I had a mom and a dad, a little sister and a dog. My family had 2 cars, and we were always friendly with our neighbors. These are the things I was taught were normal, these are the things I was taught everybody should have, and if they didn’t have them they should want them. I was in no way taught that by being part of this group gave me advantage, but it did. I had, and still have, advantages that other people my age don’t have just because my skin is white and theirs is not. This quote almost summarizes the article because it is really her central point throughout. That some people are taught racism is something done on purpose, out of hatred, and is not something that can be done through taking advantage of privileges you may not realize you have. This obliviousness is one thing McIntosh thinks needs to stop.

“White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.”

I think this is a very relevant point that I forget a lot in my day-to-day life. I think that because I am white I forget I have white privilege; I was born with it and will always have it. What McIntosh says in important is that we remember white people in today’s society have all these tools and resources available to them. She also says acknowledging the racism and privilege is important and the first step to moving past the racism.

“…it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage to weaken hidden system of advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base .”

I think she wants to end her piece by leaving the readers questioning their own lives. She wants those who do have privilege and power to acknowledge that fact, as she believes that that is the first step in fixing the problem and redistributing the power. I think that not using your white privilege is very difficult and sometimes impossible, because part of white privilege is the way people treat you based on your race. This, obviously, cannot be changed regardless of personal actions. However I think McIntosh has a good point in that acknowledgement is the first step. I think those with privilege and power must know and be willing to admit it before any progress can be made.

Question for class: Do you think that we are starting to break down white privilege and afford more opportunities to people of all races? Or are we, as a society in 2013, still failing to acknowledge its existence?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hello Everyone!

Hi Everyone,
I'm Hannah and I'm a freshman this year majoring in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. I have always known that I wanted to be Preschool teacher and am excited to be taking classes like this to be able to accomplish that. I really love kids so I welcome any opportunity I get to work with them.
I work as a PASS worker and I work with a 12-year old girl in Coventry. I started in late January, and really like this job already.
I also have an internship at The Groden Center Preschool in Providence. At the Preschool both typically developing children and atypically developing children attend and participate in activities together. I think this is a great opportunity and I really like going there and being a part of their classroom. It has actually become one of my favorite things to do.
My sister Sarah and I. 

This is Otis our dog.
I have one sister, she's 16, and we have a puppy, an 11 year old black lab, Otis.

So that's about me...See everyone in class!