Sunday, December 7, 2014

Theory Connection #2

Theory Connection #2

Quote & Explanation – Throughout this course, I have been able to connect many theories we have
discussed and read about in class to my service learning experience. Along with my main connection – Collier – I can also connect an experience I had in my classroom to Lisa Delpit. In Delpit’s excerpt, “Other People’s Children,” she has five aspects of power that she proposed. Her fourth aspect is “If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture make acquiring power easier” (Delpit, p.25). This quote means that if you are not apart of the culture of power - if you are not a white person - being told the rules and codes of that culture make it easier to attain power. In my case, the culture of power is being a teacher. If you are a new teacher at this school and you do not know the rules and codes that the school follows, learning those rules and codes will help you become a respectable teacher who is part of the culture of power.

Practice Example – On my first day at Charlotte Woods, I was not introduced to the children or briefed by the teacher on how she ran her classroom or what kind of rules she had in place. Because of this, I felt as if I was a student. I felt like I couldn’t even talk to the kids and tell them what to do because I was new and who was I to tell these kids what to do. I also didn’t want to overstep any boundaries Though, according to Delpit, I am a part of the culture of power just by being white, I was not in this case.

So What – Even though I was not introduced as a teacher, the kids still knew to address me as Miss. Though they didn’t know my name or why I was there, they knew that I was white and was of power. This brings me to Delpit’s fifth premise, “Those with power are frequently least aware of – or least willing to acknowledge – its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence” (Delpit, p.26). Even though I felt like I had no power, the children whom are all either black, Hispanic or multiracial, knew I had power. Coming in as a white woman, I already had established authority and power to them. On that day, though I felt super uncomfortable doing it, I was able to go around and tell the children what they needed to do. I told them and they immediately listened not even knowing me. This goes to show that even as fifth graders, they know the rules and codes of powers not only in school but in society. 

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