My praxis (feb 28th): teaching or pushing?
My first praxis meeting was this past Friday the 28th. Every Monday me and the other co-facilitators meet to create a lesson plan for the students and on Fridays we go and lead the after school program. My praxis is located just on the outside of Philadelphia. We, the facilitators and I, first went to one of the classrooms to try to rally up the students who normally attend this program. The conversation we walked in on between the students and the teacher was a conversation on why white people think that their hair is better than black people. From this first impression, I already got the sense that there are racialized tensions in the school I was coming into.
During the program, we had 7 students attend: 2 boys and 5 girls. Our main activity for the day was about how we make assumptions about people based on their appearance. We gave them printed picture of people from all walks of life and called out statements like “choose the person you are most likely to hire”. The question that left me most uneasy was the response we got for “choose the person you believe is a part of the LGBT community”. One of the students, Judith, said that the male she picked was displaying feminine qualities. One of the facilitators questioned her asking “well are they feminine qualities or are these just attributes that society believes are feminine”, hinting at the social construction of femininity. Judith was adamant about that the qualities that the person she picked were in fact feminine, missing the point completely.
I think the trouble I had about this question was it showed that a lot of the students had a bit of hostility towards gender and sexuality (despite me being told that they’ve had lesson in the program in the past regarding those subjects), and I wasn’t sure how to address it. I want to take everyone’s viewpoints into consideration and understand that a lot of these students are Christian so this could be the reason etc., but at the same time I felt it was my duty to teach them that this kind of mentality is not okay. The balance between how do I respect their opinions while teaching them another viewpoint (that I strongly believe in), makes me feel like I’m forcing an idea onto them. I’m not sure how to work around this.