Victorie M. Penn
November 28, 2007
Personal Teaching Text
Throughout the term of my Educational Diversity class, experiences within and outside the class changed me as a person and in effect, a teacher. Three essays were assigned to begin uncovering themes involving diversity in education—a life history, an issues on diversity essay, and a shadow study. From these essays, I realized four themes: one in each essay and one overall theme.
In my first essay, a life history, I described an incident that influenced me in terms of diversity. In summary, I was in a youth group who ignored a girl named Gretchen because she was different. For many years I never talked to or acknowledged her because she was an outsider. One day, for some reason, I sat down on the front porch of our youth house and talked to her. I found out from our conversation that she had gotten used to being ignored. This was my critical incident that I related to teaching on diversity. In my concluding paragraph I wrote, “As a future teacher, I want the children I teach to know that difference is not a bad thing. I want to teach them to form their own opinions about people by getting to know them, not by listening to what society thinks. Children need to know that difference is what keeps us from being the same and that we should embrace it, not turn it away, or ignore it, or even worse, walk right by it.”
Looking back on this essay, I found that the theme of exclusion/inclusion applies. Gretchen was excluded from our youth group because she was different. I described her in my essay as , “… the weird girl…who wore hand-me-down clothes, spoke with a lisp and sat in the corner during our youth meetings. The youth group pretty much ignored her existence. Her family was not well off…” As a teacher, I want to work towards inclusion and as far away from exclusion as possible. I want my students to know that when someone is excluded just because of their physical...