One of the things that I think struck me the most in the early years of my professional teaching life was the stark contrast between my graduate school education curriculum, and my experience in the real world of public school teaching. As an undergraduate social science major, I was more than familiar with the history of inequality and the ways - race, class, gender - in which its legacy is woven into the fabric of our lives today. One of the reasons I went into education was that I felt it was a career in which I could apply my talents while effecting change. Because I had received so much privilege, while so many others did not, I felt a moral mandate to do something good for the world, to allow my privilege to benefit others.
Yet, once I entered the teaching program I noticed right away how little emphasis was being placed on the traditional discussions of inequality I was used to engaging in. No matter, I assumed. We were merely receiving the skills that we would use to set children free. Knowledge is power! I would learn about classroom management, theories of mind, efficient and effective lesson planning, special education, English language learners and reading interventions. The change I would be effecting would be in the classroom, no need for fancy theories on structural inequality.
Next time, The Reality. I find out what it's really like in the classroom.