While this instance of microaggression did not occur this week, it did take place this school year. I have a child in my kindergarten class who has a plethora of behavior issues. There are many interventions I have established for him in my classroom on a daily basis; the most significant of these is patience and love (and on my good days, an abundance of both of these). A few months ago, another teacher had a run-in with this particular student in which the student was very defiant. After recalling this incident to me, the teacher said, “you know what [this student] really needs is a tough, non-nonsense man in his life.” After taking a moment to recover and not come unglued, I responded that I thought love was truly what this child needed and that’s what I was (and am) working on providing him with every day that he is in school. To be the target of microaggression was infuriating and extremely frustrating. For a colleague who has never been in my classroom to witness the strong relationships I establish with each of my students (especially the ones that are hard to love), this comment was hurtful and I found myself feeling defensive because of it. My being a woman has nothing to do with the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of my teaching.
My observation experiences this week affected my perception of stereotypes and prejudice in that I realized that a major root cause of this is often ignorance. People can be so unaware of how their words or actions can affect others and therefore speak and act in such under thought, careless ways. It has also broadened my own frame of reference in making me more aware, sensitive, and intentional with the way I speak and act around diversity.