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Transcript of Cultural Autobiography
By: Laura Griggs
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
Immediate/Extended family: life is black and white
Basic principles: Work hard at everything you do, live within your means, respect elders, be honest, obedience, prejudice.
I consider my childhood to be some of the darkest days of my life. My parents are extremely narrow-minded and prejudice. My father is extremely authoritarian, whereas my mother is very permissive, which created multiple issues at home. I was taught at an early age that white people are different and superior to other ethnic groups and that there is nothing that can be done to change that. I was also taught that homosexuality is a sin and therefore very wrong. I was confused when I entered elementary school, where they celebrated diversity and equality and felt lost and contradicted all throughout my childhood.
No matter what I accomplished, I never felt good enough.
Coaches: My strength
Basic principles: Never give up, be strong.
I have played sports since I was in fourth grade. Within these programs, my coaches taught me that women could be strong, something that my father contradicted with his treatment of my mother.
My first exposure to a form of feminism, though I did not understand at this point in my life.
Teachers: my angels
Basic principles: Be proud of your accomplishments, tolerance.
In the midst of a very rocky home-life, school was my refuge. I did my best to hide my hurt and overcompensated by sucking up to my teachers, but also behaving with extreme hyperactivity.
Feeling like my parents, especially my father, were never proud of me, I did all that I could to please my teachers. When teachers commented on my accomplishments it sometimes made me feel uncomfortable, because I was not used to this kind of positive recognition.
I was identified as gifted in third grade, but my parents never really commented on it, making me feel inadequate.
Teachers taught me to be more tolerant and accepting of others
SES: Anger and Resentment
My family is very poor, compared to the kids I grew up with. I was on the free and reduced lunch program all throughout my childhood and in Dublin, Ohio this was not common. I was embarrassed that I was poor and never told other students that we didn’t have cable tv or internet at home, because I wanted them to think I was just like them. I also didn’t want other students to know where I lived, because my house was much smaller than most of the other student’s homes.
I thought I was extremely poor, because I was compared to all of my friends.
My Culture: Based on my primary influences
Irish, Scottish, English, Cherokee
Lower middle class
Development of feminist beliefs
Growing up, I quickly learned to hate all men, because I thought they were all like my father: chauvinistic and hateful.
I dated a boy in high school and was so cruel to him, because I wanted him to understand that I was not going to be submissive.
I did not consider myself a feminist at this time, because my feelings toward men were based on hate, not equality.
I am not proud to say that I developed racist views very early on in life, before I even understood what racism was.
I also formed a homophobic mindset during my childhood.
I simply did not know any better, because these were the views commonly expressed by my immediate, as well as, extended family members.
I was very privileged when it came to the education I received, although I certainly did not realize that until recently actually.
I was enrolled in a school district that had plenty of money and was able to purchase whatever we wanted. We always had air conditioning and heat; something I assumed all children had.
Independence was also encouraged throughout my education. Students were free to use the restroom whenever we wanted and teachers seemed to trust us.
I was lucky to receive an education that focused on mastery.
Several significant events occurred in college that shaped and altered my culture:
I became very involved in the Christian organization called Real Life, I took a Women's Studies class and officially identified myself as a feminist, and I became friends with a gay student on my floor (I know it sounds politically incorrect to say it this way, but he opened my eyes to his lifestyle and the judgement he endured on a daily basis). I became more accepting of other's differences through this friendship.
These changes were all very positive experiences for me, but a great deal of confusion and contradiction within my beliefs persisted.
Development of a performance orientation
According to Ames, (1997) a performance orientation describes the belief that outcome is determined by one’s ability and doing better than others with minimal effort defines the level of one’s intellect. Additionally, students with performance goals often times avoid challenging themselves for fear of failure, because they equate failure with lack of ability (Ames, 1992, pgs. 262-263).
Although my education was high quality, I was placed in very competitive gifted and talented classes, where I was embarrassed to ask questions, for fear of looking stupid to the other smart kids.
This orientation hindered me, because I did not put enough effort into certain subjects, such as math.
My view of teaching
Reflecting on my development of a performance orientation, I know that it was because of an overly-competitive environment, in which I felt unsafe.
My plan is to encourage mastery goals, which is the belief that effort and outcome co vary and success is determined by intrinsic motivation. Students with this kind of mindset equate pride with effort and guilt with no effort among my students (Ames, 1992, p. 262).
My view of teaching
Because of my messy family life, I feel like I am very attentive to students' emotions.
Within, "Urban Teachers' Professed Classroom Management Strategies," author discusses the importance of nurturance and caring between students and teachers (Brown, 2004).
In fifth grade, many of the girls in my class were mean to me and my teacher, Mrs. Park, noticed. One day she pulled me aside and asked how I was doing. She also let me choose my seat for our "assigned" seats. Mrs. Park's nurturing attitude was much needed during that period in my life and I never forgot that day.
Outside of my Comfort Zone
Even though I had branched out a lot in undergrad and believed myself to be pretty accepting, grad school has posed many challenges for me.
During the summer semester, I noticed that I still hold on to many of the stereotypes of Urban students that I developed over the course of my lifetime.
It was not until I was placed at Buckeye Middle School and actually started interacting with Inner-city students that I realized that I was completely wrong in my prejudiced thinking.
My view of teaching
Fairness for all students
I realize that it is not possible, nor is it logical to treat all students exactly the same, because not all students are created equal, in terms of ability, learning style, etc. However, I do think that it is necessary to treat all students fairly. In the article, "Urban Teachers' Professed Classroom Management Strategies," one teacher mentions that "you must be consistent with respect and kindness. Always treat them fairly" (Brown, 2004, p. 283).
Pulling a child aside can make a huge difference.
Similar to my house
Being poor is all about perspective
I would not describe my family as religious; we never attended church, but there were always small references to the bible made by my parents
I attended several different churches with friends throughout my childhood: Presbyterian, Catholic, Mormon, and Non-Denominational Christian.
I chose to become a Non-Denominational Christian, because I found it the least threatening and most accepting.
Dublin Scioto High School
Acceptance always felt so out of reach, but the distance began to close in college
Why we need to keep trying, not matter what.
Intersections of my beliefs
I still have a long way to go as far as understanding all of my beliefs. It is especially difficult for me to be a feminist and a Christian, because many of my feminist views clash with some Christian beliefs, but I have found that I am able to balance these beliefs.
I am driven to seek social justice for women, because I am a feminist, but I am also able to forgive my oppressors, because of my spirituality.
One challenge I pose for myself as a future educator is inspiring women to pursue careers in scientific fields.