Tuesday, October 5, 2010

another day in subversive teaching: privilege freedom to/from learning

I've talked already a few times with my kids about privilege. How they understand it, what it means to have it etc. The terms was basically foreign to them, other than having it easier when you are older sibling, or being rewarded in some way.

It was really hard to get through, and I really wonder what they thought after. They were surprised with some examples, and I tried to give them mostly in general or about me, not them. They finally came up with their own - that they are privileged to have a chance to learn in a small community school or to live in a comfortable house. We were getting somewhere. But race, size, gender or sexuality were much more difficult. I guess we got used more to talk about money?

I must say I didn't cross the line to use me us underprivileged in terms sexuality... I still have troubles with them. I used "a gay person" as an example. One day I will be completely open. I think it's not about being... ashamed or anything of that kind, but it's just private!

Some other time, with different students we talked about what is freedom and slavery. Their responses were very thoughtful. But, not surprisingly as there is very little said about it, they didn't know there is still slavery in the US. One kid mentioned sexual exploitation and child trafficking. Soon we will have a research project on modern slavery, they will learn more about the situation in today's world, and the ways to help.

There is one thing that is my serious pet peeve. It's the kids who are oh, such victims, because they are forced to go to school and they are "not even paid". As we say in Polish, blood washes all over me when I hear such snotty, spoiled, privileged talk. I told them of course they are paid pretty well with their clothing, roof, food etc. but then they said that their parents have the obligation... yeah, but not to buy iPods, dozens pairs of shoes, iPhones, gadgets, movies, computers.... these kids don't have any idea. When I said that the obligation was set to protect children's rights, they were all in "pfffft" mode. And the argument about small children in factories was almost ridiculed. I was really close to losing it... I just have to remind myself that these kind of attitudes do not change overnight. I just hope she wakes up

just breath... in... and out... day by day.

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