One hope I have in regards to working with children and families who come from diverse backgrounds is that I would be able to make them feel valued and respected and that they would know that I have their child’s best interests at heart.
A goal I have is to work with families from their initial enrollment in learning more about their culture and diversity in order to better cultivate partnerships with them.
Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Davis and the colleagues I interacted with throughout this class. I appreciate your feedback, transparency, and honesty. I have learned from all of you and hope to take what I have learned into my classroom and interactions with children and families. Thank you!
The country I chose for this assignment is Russia. In order to prepare myself to be culturally responsive to a family with this country of origin, I would do the following things:
- Ask the child to bring in pictures of his/her family and create a “My Family” book for the student to share with the class and have easy access to each day in order to feel more secure and comfortable in the classroom.
- Based on the fact that families are large and the family structure is so important to Russians, invite the whole family into the classroom for a “meet and greet” session.
- To better understand the family’s home life and structure, I would give the child an opportunity to draw their family and who lives in their home and then share this drawing with their class.
- Because grandmothers are often a lifeline of support to Russian families, I would want to incorporate and introduce this person to the classroom and create opportunities for her to volunteer in the classroom or come to a grandparent’s day.
- To give his/her classmates more of an opportunity to learn about Russian food, language, and other elements, I would create a share time in which students could bring in elements reflecting their cultural backgrounds.
I think these preparations would be beneficial to both myself and the family because it would advocate for the child and family in transitioning to a new culture. It would help in fostering a safe place for the child and would help in cultivating a relationship with the student and partnership with the parents.
(n.d.). In MasterRussian.com. Retrieved February 21, 2015, from http://masterrussian.com/russianculture/russian_family.htm
A time I can remember witnessing someone being the target of oppression was when a close friend of mine recounted to me a story of when he dated a white girl (he is black) and made arrangements to purchase a plane ticket and visit her family for Easter. Only later did he find out that his girlfriend’s grandmother was uncomfortable with him spending time with the family and gave them an ultimatum: either she would be attending Easter festivities with the family or he would; the two could not jointly attend.
Prejudice in this situation clearly diminished equity in that the grandmother and ultimately family chose to uninvite my friend solely based on his difference in race. There was nothing he could have said or done differently to effect change in this decision.
For me, I can remember sobbing after hearing my friend describe this experience and see how clearly it affected him. I remember truly realizing in that moment that racism still existed and did so on the basis of ignorance and hate. While up until that time, I was unaware that racism still occurred, I realized that ignorance and hatred are characteristics that will always exist, therefore racism will be difficult to ever truly overcome.
In order for this situation to be turned into an opportunity of greater equity, the family and grandmother’s attitude regarding prejudice and racism would have to change. Hatred would have to turn into compassion and love. Prejudice would have to turn into acceptance and empathy. Ignorance would have to turn into knowledge and understanding.