Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who ARE you?

So I met with a micro student on Sunday and it was almost 45 mins before I started the tutoring session, and this was a big deal for me because I'm NEVER late for ANYTHING EVER!!!!

Turns out I passed the woman at the elevator and putting it straight to the point, racial stereotyping is why I completely missed who I was supposed to be meeting with. So what exactly does that mean? That means that I assumed a Korean woman wouldn't be looking for a Black woman to tutor her in anything, and yeah, I'm pretty clear on how dumb an assumption that was.

Now she had seen a pic of me before she contacted me to tutor her and her mix up was in thinking I was White, as in she thought the pic she saw of me looked like a White woman, LOL!! Man, when she told me that I interrupted the entire library with my laughter because I don't think I look white at all. Below, is the picture that caused all the confusion:

I see a light-skinned black woman in that pic, but she saw a white woman, LOL!!! And for the record I'm genetically mixed raced, but check the "black box" because of my cultural identity. Anyhoo, meeting her reminded me of just how much even people who consider themselves racially open minded like me, can subconsciously make assumptions about folks, like assuming an Asian student wouldn't need tutoring in a science class. Not only was that ignorant on my part, but the fact that half of the students I tutor are Asian, a fact I didn't realize until Sunday, should have made it real clear to me that needing help in school has nothing to do with race. More importantly, it could very well be that the strong presence of Asians in STEM fields relates to their ability to seek help when needed to master tough subjects not some cultural propensity toward STEM areas.

Moving on, my students evaluated me yesterday and I'm a little anxious about what my reviews were. I'm pretty sure my triflin' students let me have it and those I don't really care about. But I DO care about what my other students think, especially my minority and disadvantaged students because a large part of my purpose in teaching at all is to motivate them and be a role model. I also sincerely hope none of my students think I'm not trying to encourage them, because the exact opposite is true. I mean, I'm tough, but I'm fair. And when I think about my disadvantaged students, it's a LOT easier to identify them than one would think and often, they are the students who have low self-esteem which I can also pick up on. The ones who I KNOW work more than one job to make ends meet, really tug at my heart strings because I think getting a good education is so much harder for low income folks than it used to be. I guess I'll get the results back sometime next week and when I do, I'll be sure to share them............I think, LOL!!!!

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